Pelham Parkway is the top priority for Community Board 11.
The longstanding requests for the reconstruction of Pelham Parkway North and the rehabilitation of the park itself both remained in the top three of CB 11’s fiscal year 2016 capital budget priorities and requests list, although the projects are already in progress.
A new request to rehabilitate the Peace Memorial Plaza on Pelham Parkway, number two on the list, was denied by the parks department because of insufficient funds.
The request to reconstruct Pelham Parkway was first introduced in 1984, said assistant district manager John Fratta. It took many years to get the funding for the project and then through the design process, and the need for reconstruction persisted.
“The roadway’s in very bad condition,” said Fratta.
The project, split into two phases, is a major undertaking because while reconstructing the road, the city is updating underlying infrastructure like water mains and sewers, said Fratta.
The project also involves the Department of Design and Construction coordinating with other departments, including parks, transportation and fire.
The reconstruction of Pelham Parkway South was eventually completed in 2013, but issues including an extra-wide sidewalk that narrowed the service road and the loss of parking frustrated locals.
“The reconstruction of Pelham Parkway South was a sheer disaster,” said Edith Blitzer of the Pelham Parkway Neighborhood Association.
She hopes the process for the north side goes more smoothly.
“It definitely needs reconstruction,” said Blitzer.
The DDC is due to present a design plan for the project in April, and reconstruction is temporarily planned to occur in FY 2016.
For several years, the community board has had a vision of rehabilitating the entire length of the Pelham Parkway mall, said parks committee chair Joanne Rubino.
“Pelham Parkway is the jewel of our area,” she said.
While Rubino still feels the mall is beautiful, she thinks it looks somewhat neglected and could use a good sprucing up.
The rehabilitation requested by the board included rehabbing the bridle path and drainage, re-soding and replanting foliage on greenways, rehabilitating cross paths and pedestrian walks, repairing and replacing benches, and installing sidewalks and curbs from the Bronx River Parkway to Stillwell Avenue.
The parks department responded that the single request included more than one project, but that work is underway on certain portions of the request.
The plans are currently in the design phase to reconstruct portions of the Pelham Parkway landscape, paths and bike lane between Boston Road and Wallace Avenue.
The plan presented to the board for the rehabilitated section looked promising, said Blitzer.
“We’re hoping that improvements will encourage more people to use the parks,” she said. “That’s what parks are for.”