Pelham Bay Taxpayers Association

With so much doom and gloom bombarding us, it felt so great when all those hands went up “unanimously voting yes for a public hearing to discuss a possible directional change for St. Paul Avenue.”

We waited, and waited and waited for this to finally happen and now we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Thursday, November 19, at the community board meeting in Co-op City at 135 Einstein Loop, the members of Pelham Bay Taxpayers & Civic Association came with hope, that we the taxpaying residents, would finally have our fair right to voice our opposition to the reversal of St. Paul Avenue.

For decades, Lady of Mercy Hospital, a huge medical establishment, was a 24-7 facility with daily deliveries, ambulances, doctors, nurses, visitors coming and going. St. Paul was a one way street. A straight direct line to Westchester Avenue completely avoiding the disastrous conditions at Pelham Bay train station with cars, trucks and tandem buses coming from every different direction.

Only after Lady of Mercy closed down, St Paul Avenue dumped their traffic problem onto Burr Avenue, a very busy tandem bus route, and E. 196th Street “a two way street.” To avoid Pelham Bay train station, the new short cut now requires making a right turn off Burr Avenue onto East 196th Street, drive, two blocks to St. Paul Avenue and then make a left turn onto St. Paul Avenue and finally arrive at Westchester Avenue so we can all shop in our own community. The new short cut?

It is a known fact, St. Paul Avenue was not the only street that experienced serious dangerous traffic conditions. Every single block in the entire community has been victimized by cars speeding through our streets. What they could have and should have requested, was speed humps on both streets of St. Paul Avenue which would have quickly eliminated all of their speeding traffic problems. This has worked in many other communities with the daily onslaught of speeding cars through residential streets.

Together, with all our neighboring civic associations, the North East Bronx Community Alliance, we have screamed about aggressive, unfair ticketing, over development, demanding down zoning to preserve the character of our communities and the removal of ugly graffiti. Our elected officials have heard our voices and are achieving our goals. The City Council passed three Councilman Jimmy Vacca-backed bills that will help prevent the aggressive ticket blitz that have targeted our communities. Jimmy announced at our meeting of November 16 that he expected a zoning amendment to win City Council approval requiring developers to offer one parking spot for every two housing units in R6 and R7 zones. The additional rules will discourage greedy developers from building unwanted buildings that end up vacant and become a target for homeless shelters and other social programs. Senator Jeff Klein has been aggressive in removing the ugly graffiti and going after judges to impose stricter penalties. Assemblyman Michael Benedetto has joined the legal fight opposing the homeless shelter on St. Peters Avenue.

Join your local civic associations and together we will achieve our goals. Our December meeting will be held on Monday, December 14, because December 21 is too close to our Christmas holidays. Dues of $10 for 2010, can be paid at our December 14 meeting. We do have many problems, but let’s be thankful we are living in the greatest country in the world and let’s join together to keep it the best country in the world. Happy Thanksgiving to one and all.

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