If you think Fordham Road is a traffic mess, you haven’t seen anything yet.
The city will start a major reconstruction project next month at the busy thoroughfare prone to risky jaywalkers, speeding taxis and lumbering buses.
The seven-phase project, part of the city’s PlaNYC traffic initiative, will first tweak traffic patterns around two square blocks along E. Fordham Rd. comprised of E. 188th and 189th streets and Park, Third and Webster avenues.
By late 2014 new street lighting, sewer systems, traffic signals, modern bus shelters and trees will pepper the Fordham area.
The overall aim of the project by the city Department of Design & Construction is to ease traffic conditions for people traveling through the zone that is home to Fordham University and the Fordham Plaza marketplace.
“All this is done to improve the traffic flow in and around Fordham plaza,” DDC community liaison Jonathan Conte told the Community Board 6 transportation committee Feb. 7.
He added that several heavily used buses, namely the 55, 17, 12 and Special Bus Service12, will be rerouted around the construction work.
Permanent roadway changes include:
– Turning 189th St. between Third and Webster avenues into a westbound one-way street
– Creating a bus loop on 3rd Ave for the MTA bus depot area by Fordham Plaza
– The demapping of Park Ave. between 188th and 189th streets
– Cars on East Fordham Road and 189th Street will be barred except for buses and emergency vehicles
Initially, much of the work will divert traffic to certain portions of the square block, making it tough to maneuver around the area.
“This is going to be a traffic nightmare,” groused neighbor Jose Badilla Jr., worried about Webster Avenue becoming a virtual parking lot for cars forced to pack the road while each phase cuts off traffic.
Traffic agents will be on hand from 7 a.m. 7 p.m. throughout the project as it gets underway.
“There’s no traffic at seven in the morning,” said Wilma Alonso, head of the Fordham Road Business Improvement District. “That’s too early.”
To speed up the project, the DDC contractor filed a 24-hour permit to work round the clock.
Daytime work (6 a.m. to 6 p.m.) will be take up less space compared to nighttime work (9 p.m. to 6 a.m.), which will bring out heavy equipment to a relatively desolate area, said Conte.
He did warn “certain operations will be noisy.”
Conte said anyone with any concerns about the project can email him at [email protected].
David Cruz can be reach via e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at (718) 742-3383