Some have labeled it a pipe dream. But if the money could be found, the Throggs Neck, Waterbury LaSalle and Pelham Bay communities feel that a decking proposal kicked around ever since the Bruckner Expressway was built might be an asset and restore the old-time look of the boulevard.
Pasquale Cavallo, the former owner of Better Gro Garden Center has pitched the idea of putting a concrete parking deck over the Bruckner Expressway from roughly Logan Avenue to E. Tremont Avenue several times over his 50 years in business in Throggs Neck.
Cavallo said that it would provide needed parking for an area that has grown increasingly congested and needs municipal lots. Andrew Chirico of the Waterbury-LaSalle Community Association agrees that the proposal is a very one.
“I had floated the same idea about three or four years ago to elected officials, and found out that it would be very expensive,” Chirico said. “Building parking over the expressway would actually be restoring the street to the way it was in the early 1960s before the highway was built. There were two rows of parking in front of St. Benedict’s Church before the highway was built.”
Chirico said that the idea also has appeal to some merchants in Pelham Bay, who would like to see a parking deck built over the expressway between roughly Wilkinson and Westchester avenues. Space could be set aside for a bus depot to relieve congestion at Pelham Bay station, they believe.
“Of course, the catch is that no one knows how to approach the money issue,” Chirico said. “But it would be a great thing to have parking there.”
Chirico added: “We would need the support of the local elected officials who could approach federal officials and see about the possibility of such a project. We are so overdeveloped. We need parking because we are getting a lot of commuters who are leaving their cars here to catch the train or bus into the city.”
John Cerini, president of the Throggs Neck Merchants Association, said his group is looking into starting the ball rolling.
“To investigate building a parking deck, we would have to first find architects who would be willing to volunteer their time to come up with a plan,” Cerini said. “The benefit for this person would be if the project were then approved, they could work on it.”
According to sources, the odds of getting a decking project approved are slim due to the large expense.