Column: Progress inches along on the Pelham Bay Park, City Island front

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City Island Road
Photo courtesy Google
Every day, as you leave our community, we pass two ghost bikes and a roadside memorial within the Rodman’s Neck Circle. These monuments are to remember the lives lost due to the unsafe conditions that exist in Pelham Bay Park and serve as a constant reminder of neglect by city agencies toward our community.
Over the past few months, our group has been working closely with Transportation Alternatives and state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi to make Pelham Bay Park safer for motorists, pedestrians, bicyclists, and of course, the deer and wildlife that make their home within this natural setting. A walkthrough of all parties with the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) took place in August. It’s important to keep in mind these problems have been years in the making, and will not be solved overnight. That being said, we have made progress on several fronts:
·      NYC DOT has pledged commitments: approving additional speed limit signs, wrong-way signs, deer signs, the refurbishment of the pavement markings throughout the entry/exit ways of the park and greenway, and — finally — railings to protect pedestrians and cyclists on the Pelham Bridge. Additionally, the “No U-Turn” signs that used to be off the ramp to the Hutchinson River Parkway have been reinstalled.
·      A number of requests are still under consideration including street light repairs, a potential redesign of the Hutchinson River Parkway’s on/off ramps, installation of kwick curbs (plastic barriers similar to what has been installed at the Rodman’s Neck Circle), and actuated signals at several pedestrian/bicycle crossings. Finally, we have persistently pushed for protected bike lanes on the City Island Bridge itself and for the previous barriers to be reinstalled.
During our walkthrough, one of the attendees noted that the roadways are in such poor condition because the roads are in the jurisdiction of the Parks Department and not DOT. As a result, our roadways are substandard with continuously large potholes, other depressions, poor irrigation and catch basins, as well as an electrical system for lighting that is in constant need of repair. This may soon require a transfer of jurisdiction to properly address these issues and is also currently being examined by DOT.
We hope to see you all at our next meeting and wish each of you a happy holiday season, even if you celebrate no holiday at all. May we all use this time to recharge our energy, reflect on our actions, and continue our collective efforts to improve the community we all call home.

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