Pelham Parkway N. revamp meeting set

The reconstruction of Pelham Parkway North in the coming years will feature repaving, changes to street design, and infrastructure upgrades.
Community News Group / Patrick Rocchio

Local residents will have the chance to learn about the long-awaited plans for the reconstruction of the north side of Pelham Parkway.

Community Board 11 will hold a public hearing on the subject at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 16 at the Institute for Special Education at 999 Pelham Parkway North.

At the public hearing, plans will be presented by the NYC Department of Design and Construction, and there will be an opportunity to comment for those who sign up before the meeting starts.

Those plans encompass Pelham Parkway’s westbound main roadway and the Pelham Parkway North service road, and will address the road’s deficiencies such as the lane width, pavement deterioration, poor drainage and the need for a dedicated turn lane at Williamsbridge Road, according to a presentation shown to community stakeholders in early June.

The project will also upgrade the aging water mains and sewers under the roadway, install a dedicated bus service lane, and install American Disability Act Accessible sidewalks.

Smaller improvements such as upgraded street lighting and new traffic signs are also included.

And although community leaders acknowledge the need for the project, so far several have raised concerns about the plan.

Details questioned include the removal of about 26 trees for reasons of disease or sidewalk installation, the removal of 31 parking spaces for ‘daylighting’ at corners, which increasesvisibility and provides room for the turning radius of emergency vehicles, and the construction of a sidewalk on Pelham Parkway north between Williamsbridge and White Plains Road that could narrow the roadway and encroach on parkland.

A number of people at the stakeholder’s meeting were particularly concerned with the loss of parking, said CB Parks Committee chair Joanne Rubino.

“It’s very congested,” she said of the area.

At the meeting, they also learned the installations of guiderails will only offer breaks to cross at the signals, which Rubino said has caused problems on the south side of the parkway.

“People hop over them,” said Rubino.

The reconstruction of Pelham Parkway South, completed in 2013, frustrated locals with the construction of a ‘sidewalk to nowhere’ that had no outlet and narrowed the service road.

During that first phase of the project, the Pelham Parkway Preservation Alliance was formed to fight the parks department on the removal of several dozen trees for the installation of the guardrail, which was successfully avoided.

This time around, they are questioning the planned removal of about 26 trees for reasons of disease or sidewalk installation. The alliance has requested evidence that the removal is necessary because of the health of the trees, said leader Joe Menta.

“We don’t want to see any trees come down,” said Menta. “Trees maintain the beauty and aesthetic of the parkway.”

Concerns about the process in general stem from the problems encountered during the first phase of the project.

“It was a real mess on the other side,” said Rubino.

But although there is some lingering distrust of the agencies, leading the community board to be super-vigilant in overseeing the plans, Rubino said most feel the process seems to be going better this time.

“This go-around, the city agencies have done a much better job with the design and have been sensitive to our concerns,” said Menta.

And none of these changes are due to take place either this year or next. The tentative time line presented by DDC calls for plans to be finalized in 2016, when the project will be put out to bid. Construction is due to begin in mid-2017.

“It’s going to be a long project,” said Rubino.

Reach Reporter Jaime Williams at 718-260-4591. E-mail her at jwilliams@cnglocal.com.

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