Improvements to a substantial portion of the sidewalks surrounding Parkside Houses has residents and local community members breathing a sigh of relief.
The stretch from White Plains Road between Arnow and Adee avenues, outside of the New York City Housing Authority Development, has new pavement after more than 10 years of being a tripping hazard to pedestrians, especially seniors, according to sources with knowledge of the situation.
The $132,200 renovation was celebrated on Tuesday, September 29 at the housing complex.
The improvement was lauded by Polly Trottenberg, city Department of Transportation commissioner; Congressman Joseph Crowley; Councilman Ritchie Torres, who advocated for the improvements; Tony Vitaliano, Community Board 11 chairman and Jeremy Warneke, CB 11 district manager; and community leaders, including Arlene Drayton, Parkside Resident Council secretary, Parkside Resident Council and CB 11 board member.
Funding for sidewalk repairs both at NYCHA developments and citywide have been increased recently, according to sources.
“For too long, Parkside Houses’ sidewalks were ranked the worst in all of NYCHA’s housing stock,” said Torres. “These newly repaired sidewalks, made possible by increased city funding, will provide safer streets for hundreds of residents.”
Councilman Torres said that he looks forward to seeing more necessary sidewalk repairs done in a timely manner at other NYCHA projects.
Drayton said she was compelled to advocate for the repairs after a fellow community activist, who was in a wheelchair and concerned about the condition of the sidewalk, passed away.
“Specifically, (the sidewalk in this area) was cracked, caving in and there were a lot of holes,” said Drayton. “There are a many senior citizens in this area, and we had a lot of near misses, meaning accidents where pedestrians could have fallen.”
The advocacy for repairs to this stretch of sidewalk began with many 311 calls, with complaint numbers subsequently forwarded to CB 11, she said.
The effort intensified when Drayton was appointed to the community board, she added.
Councilman Torres was especially helpful in getting DOT’s attention, said Drayton.
And the repairs were surely needed, she said, adding that there was one spot that had collapsed.
“It has been tremendous,” said Drayton of the repairs. “I have heard people say how happy they are and that they can walk without (fear of) falling, especially the seniors.”
Before the repairs, the sidewalk symbolized the condition of the Parkside Houses. Now, it seems like an asset, he indicated.
Congressman Crowley thanked DOT for the repairs.
“New Yorkers do more walking than anyone else in the country and it’s imperative that our defective sidewalks are replaced and maintained to prevent pedestrian injuries,” said the congressman.
A spokeswoman for NYCHA suggested that the repairs contribute to an overall goal of fulfilling the vision of a new reinvestment program, NextGeneration NYCHA.
“These vital physical repairs and improvements help protect the infrastructure of our developments, and make our streets safer for residents to navigate,” she stated.
Almost 12,000 square feet of concrete sidewalk was replaced, including new curbs and pedestrian ramps.