Merchants of Allerton Avenue cry out against proposed alterations to the strip, which may deter customers.
In a Community Board 11 committee meeting held on Tuesday, July 7, representatives from the Department of Transportation presented their ‘Pelham Gardens Safe Streets for Seniors’ proposal to community leaders and long-time merchants of the area.
Following a study of Eastchester Road and Allerton Avenue to assess the number of pedestrian injuries and fatalities and monitoring the speed and number of cars on the strip, DOT came up with a plan to reduce speeding and increase pedestrian safety.
The proposed plans for Allerton Avenue, estimated to begin this month, will repaint the roadways to include a 10-foot center median, with left turn bays or pedestrian islands, and in each direction an 11-foot traffic lane, a 5-foot bike lane, and a 9-foot parking lane.
“I think that idea is good but it doesn’t work all the way, past Boston Road, because that is an important shopping district, and one that is struggling,” said Assemblywoman Naomi Rivera. “We have been trying, with the community, the merchants and my office, working diligently to think of ways to help generate more traffic. The notion of making that one lane would be devastating to the district.”
Of those present at the meeting was Nick Farenga, representing Farenga Brothers Funeral Home, located 960 Allerton Avenue, a business present in the area since 1957. The new plans threaten to disrupt the business’s ability to essentially double park for funeral processions, a regular occurrence that would entirely block off the one proposed lane.
“That meting was to address the area from Boston Post Road to Bronx Park East, they weren’t talking about our block, but when it was brought up, [DOT] said they would take it on case by case,” said Farenga. “We feel they funeral home is exception from neighboring businesses. All the guests, other than immediate family, line up for processions, so any time we do a funeral the whole block will be closed down.”
Dominic Broccoli, owner of the IHOP at 817 Allerton Avenue, was also concerned with the plans, adding that a bike lane on the main strip was an unnecessary addition.
“Because of the times little communities like Allerton Avenue are getting hurt and now you want to take away peoples ability to jump in and out of a store to pick up dry cleaning or do what they have to do? We have people who place orders to go and now your taking those away,” said Broccoli. “The traffic study shows a number but doesn’t show the ora or mystic of this neighborhood, those numbers just reflect a count.”
According to a representative, DOT is in the process of reviewing the modifications suggested during the meeting.