George Street may finally become a real street.
After nine decades as an unimproved city street, the process is now underway that will put George Street fully onto the city map.
The official move will allow for capital improvement, including asphalt paving for the first time and having catch basins and a fire hydrant installed.
It also marks the end of an era for the dead-end street, located off Dudley Avenue near Mayflower Avenue.
The street is one of the last windows into what the pre-World War II Bronx looked like, when some blocks were left unpaved with just Bluestone Gravel, said local resident Paul Armstrong, a retired historical archeologist for the U.S. Army Corps. of Engineers who has lived there since 1980.
“A lot of the Bronx used to look like this,” said Armstrong. “When they first started to subdivide the colonial estates most the streets were unpaved. All of the families traditionally would chip in once a decade to pave it with Bluestone Gravel.”
Up until the 1990s, most of the residents in the four houses facing the street liked things the way they were, said Armstrong.
Many nearby residents thought that it was a private street, he said, which helped it remain relatively unused, with not much parking on the street and children playing on it in the warm weather.
Families with young children no longer live on it, and cars that park on the block get ticketed, he said. Additionally, snow plows designed for use on asphalt tend to push gravel to the end of the block.
Ralph Jacco led this push to have the street put onto the city map, getting support from the Community Board 10 municipal services committee and the full board in February.
It was not the first fight to get George Street improved, but it is the first in about a decade, said Jacco.
In enlisting the support of homeowners who have frontage on the street, Jacco said he pushed a list of reasons, including protecting car undercarriages, getting a fire hydrant on the block instead of the nearest one available around the corner on Dudley Avenue, and hopefully improving property values.
“It is a quality-of-life issue,” said Jacco.
Community Board 10 unanimously approved the measure to pave and improve George Street, said district manager Kenneth Kearns, noting that he has written to the Borough President’s office of topography to speed along the process.
Councilman Jimmy Vacca said that the way things currently stand on George Street, all the city will do is make garbage collections and fill potholes.
“George Street is one of the few remaining streets in my district that is not officially dedicated to the city,” said Vacca. “Now with the residents unanimously seeking action, I have been working closely with the community board and the borough president’s office to have the matter quickly resolved.”
Patrick Rocchio can be reach via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (718) 742-3393