To some, the Claremont Parkway Bridge maintenance construction project is a much-needed infrastructure improvement project. To others, it is a traffic nuisance, but to Stanley Hyman, owner of S. Hyman Plumbing Supplies Company, it’s “a businessman’s nightmare.”
Construction on the bridge, which goes over Metro-North tracks, began in July and will be completed in four stages over the next two years. The four-lane bridge has been funneled into two.
And no local merchant has been more affected than Hyman, whose shop sits just west of the bridge, along the southern part of Claremont Parkway. The construction site overlaps the sidewalk in front the store, which features a loading dock for in- and out-going shipments. And customer parking has been severely disrupted.
The city Department of Transportation, which is overseeing the project, has even put up a sign directing people to S. Hyman Plumbing Supplies.
“It’s hard for us with deliveries, customers coming here, loading and unloading,” Hyman, 65, said.
And there’s the problem of the rats scurrying out from the construction site at night and setting off the store’s burglar alarm.
“It’s dramatically affected our business,” Hyman said.
And the federal stimulus-funded work has created at least one new job: S. Hyman Plumbing Supplies has hired a full-time staffer to direct traffic in and out of the streets adjacent to the business, which sits between the bridge and Brook Avenue, just east of Claremont Park.
Hyman said the DOT designated a special parking area on Brook Avenue for the store, but that when customers park there they often get tickets.
Nevertheless, he said the city agency has done a good job trying to accommodate his needs and keep him abreast of the status of the construction project.
“Before the job began they were in contact with us for more than a year,” Hyman said. The DOT also designated a project liaison, who he said is “always available and reachable.”
Hyman, whose grandfather started the plumbing supply company in 1930 just a few blocks east, also has a front-row seat for the traffic jams that the bridge construction causes.
“This is the main east-west thoroughfare south of the Cross Bronx,” he said. “It becomes a bottleneck. Without the traffic enforcement agents out here, it would be at a standstill.”
Bill Weisbrod can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at (718) 742-3394.