A strategy to reduce the number of highway-bound vehicles on Pelham Bay streets has been created.
The Pelham Bay Taxpayers and Community Association has developed a plan asking for the removal of signage near exit 3E on the north bound Hutchinson River Parkway that encourages drivers to use local residential streets to access Co-op City.
Additionally, the association’s president feels a Bruckner Expressway overpass should become a two-way roadway to ease traffic flow around Pelham Bay Station’s Amendola Plaza.
The organization’s president Joe Oddo wrote a letter to the city Department of Transportation on Wednesday, March 18 stating that the present situation is “categorically unfair” to local residents.
“For years, motorists traveling along the Hutchinson River Parkway have been instructed, via DOT signage, to exit on Exit 3E and travel through our community as a pass-through to Co-op City,” the letter states, adding “This arrangement leaves motorists confused, and our residents and their parked vehicles are vulnerable to high-speed collisions.”
All this traffic on our local streets erodes the neighborhood’s quality of life and damages the local resident’s health, he added.
The organization believes that an exit off the Hutchinson River Parkway directly into Co-op City might be a solution.
“Ideally, an exit should be created for Co-op City visitors and residents to directly access their community from the Hutchinson River Parkway,” stated the letter. “However, we will defer to their residents about what is the best solution for their neighborhood.”
Currently the most common way to directly access Co-op City from a highway is via I-95 at the Bartow Avenue/Bay Plaza exit, or at a Palmer Avenue exit from an offramp to the Hutchinson River Parkway from I-95.
Because of this, said Oddo, traffic often spills onto Pelham Bay’s residential streets during peak travel times, as motorists seek alternate routes around the perpetual traffic jams that occur around the junction of I-95, Pelham Parkway, and Co-op City.
To address this, Oddo believes the direction of an overpass at the very end of Westchester Avenue should be made two-ways, in order to allow traffic that does pass through a more direct way to an I-95 onramp headed north.
By changing the Wilkinson Avenue-Bruckner Expressway overpass to two-way traffic, the traffic that intends on going southbound can avoid the Amendola Plaza bottleneck, he said.
Oddo added that municipal parking or new metered parking would address commuter parking needs.
Community Board 10 vice-chairman John Marano said that the change to two-way for the Wilkinson Avenue overpass would be useful for local residents seeking to access expressways and bridges. He said he will likely recommend that the board take up the issue of traffic in Pelham Bay.
A Department of Transportation spokesman did not offer a comment on the letter because he said that the agency had not yet received a copy of it, as of press time.