A long-awaited traffic study has shed light on the feasibility of adding roadways to ease traffic congestion at a busy office complex.
Community leaders have obtained a copy of a study that looks into the scope of work and costs associated with constructing roads that would connect the south-bound Hutchinson River Parkway and Marconi Street, near the sprawling Hutchinson Metro Center and the city’s 911 Call Center off Pelham Parkway.
The roadways being considered would include both on- and off-ramps to and from the parkway, as well as a road cut through the center of the Hutch-Metro development that would link to Marconi Street, said Joe Kelleher, Simone Metro Properties president, which operates the office park.
“We certainly feel it would be a great asset for us and to the entire area to have an access road off of the Hutchinson River Parkway,” said Kelleher, adding it would serve all of the complex’s tenants and the city’s 911 Call Center.
Outgoing Senator Jeff Klein funded the study, which was announced with fanfare in May 2015 and began in summer 2015 with a $1 million allocation to the NYC Department of Transportation.
The funding for the feasibility study was to produce a timeline and budget for the work, said Kelleher.
It came on the heels of an earlier Department of City Planning study of the Hutchinson River Parkway corridor during the Bloomberg administration that raised the possibility of direct access to the Hutchinson Metro Center area from the parkway, said Kelleher.
“Klein was trying to raise the funds to make this study a reality, which has not happened yet but which I think will,” said Kelleher.”
Kelleher believes that a direct link to the parkway would encourage future economic development, not only at the Hutchinson Metro Center but the area around the complex, and also provide another way to access a Metro North station scheduled to arrive in 2023 near Eastchester Road.
He also stressed that the DOT study contains estimates and projections, and that the type of work needed or the cost may change or be different from what is in the study.
The study was completed in the spring, but released to the community recently.
It contains a projected budget for the connecting roadway and related DOT improvements at $53,642,671.
Additionally, other related projects included in the study were sewer and water main work along the Hutchinson River Parkway and the new roadways.
Also included was a new NYC Department of Environmental Protection sewer line between Fink Avenue and Westchester Creek.
Those two parts of the overall projected project were estimated to cost just over $24 million and $35 million respectively in the city’s Fiscal Year 2022, bringing the total projected cost to$127,939,521.
The roadways under consideration would divert traffic away from Waters Place, currently the main thoroughfare that accesses Marconi Place, a street that leads in and out of major commercial developments, said Michelle Torrioni, Pelham Bay Taxpayers Association president.
“A link from the Hutchinson River Parkway for the people who work at the center and who go there for doctor’s appointments is a great idea and would alleviate a lot of the traffic on Waters Place,” said Torrioni, though she stressed she isn’t a traffic expert and wondered how such a project would be funded.
Jeremy Warneke, Community Board 11 district manager, said that those board members who are aware of the possible new infrastructure are supportive.
A local activist who was part of the grassroots East Bronx Traffic Coalition effort when the study began, John Doyle, said his primary concern was the cost.
Kelleher said that a direct roadway link to the Hutchinson River Parkway proposal goes back as many as 15 years.
He also said that he believes that EMS and FDNY vehicles would have an easier time accessing the campus that has 7,500 workers and 3,400 daily visitors.
A DOT spokeswoman stated about the study: “The city has no current or future plans to construct the ramps.”