It’s a road map to traffic hell.
The head of a local panel is sounding off over the government’s refusal to plan new Hutchinson River Parkway on ramps and off ramps that would feed the massive commercial and retail development going around the highway.
Community Board 10 Chairman John Marano said that he was not satisfied with lack of concrete plans about the proposed building of new infrastructure, and wants to make sure another major highway — nearby Interstate 95 — is considered before it’s too late.
“There are no major changes which we have been advocating for for years,” he said. “I know I-95 wasn’t part of the study, but it should have been.”
Marano said he was not satisfied because he said too many of the proposals dealt with new signs and road markings, and not with more infrastructure improvements he believes will be necessary.
Specifically, he said that the draft report did not address his board’s traffic study recommendations about a slip ramp onto the highway from around St. Joseph’s Way, direct entrances off the Hutch into the planned outlet mall at the Whitestone Multiplex Cinemas site, and shuttle buses that would transport people from the Throggs Neck Shopping Center being constructed on Brush Avenue to the outlet mall, and then onto the East Tremont Avenue commercial corridor.
He feels that the community got little to nothing from the city study up to the draft report.
But officials say on ramps and off ramps from the Hutchinson River Parkway directly into the expanding Hutchinson Metro Center were also determined not to be feasible, according to the draft report, for a variety of reasons, including “insufficient distance from acceleration and deceleration” and “proximity of the proposed ramps to existing ramps.”
A meeting with Bronx stakeholders was held at Community Board 10’s office on Tuesday, June 17 to gather more feedback as the Department of City Planning nears the completion of its Hutchinson River Parkway Transportation Corridor Study. The final study is due in July.
According to a copy of the draft report obtained by the Bronx Times, the city has been studying ways to improve traffic flow in six areas along the parkway: the Hutchinson Metro Center, west of the Hutchinson Metro Center, the proposed Metro-North Station, Westchester Square, the Bruckner Interchange, and Brush Avenue.
The meeting was held to generate more recommendations of ways to ease traffic congestion as the corridor — the Hutchinson River Parkway and surrounding streets — face the construction and completions of 10 new large projects ranging from office buildings, a hotel, a 911 call center, and several malls in a relatively short span of time.
Those present at the meeting were bound by a general theme of frustration about the lack of progress made in getting new infrastructure in place before or shortly after the opening of the new malls and buildings. It looks like at this point, several stakeholders have said, it will take years.
Attendee Joe Oddo of Pelham Bay said that ramps directly into and out of the Hutch Metro Center are needed. He said he also believes that Marconi Street, used to access the Metro Center and the 911 call center under construction should be extended all the way to Pelham Parkway, with measures taken to protect the call center from any terrorist action.
Attendee Marcia Pavlica of Country Club said she would have preferred a larger venue, other than the meeting table at CB 10’s offices, for such an important topic.