The complicated reconstruction project on Pelham Parkway’s northern side is inching closer to a start.
The Department of Design and Construction and Community Board 11 will host a public hearing on Pelham Parkway’s north side roadways reconstruction on Wednesday, May 25 at 7 p.m. at New York Institute for Special Education.
The meeting will gather input for city agencies, said John Fratta, assistant CB 11 district manager, including the for the lead agency, DDC, and the NYC Parks Department, Department of Environmental Protection and NYC Department of Transportation.
The city is seeking public comment before it finalizes plans costing tens of millions of dollars for new sewers and water mains, larger catch basins, street reconstruction and new guardrails for both the west-bound main roadway and Pelham Parkway North, explained Fratta.
CB 11 has made requests of the city regarding this phase of reconstruction, after the south service and main road were already renovated, said the assistant district manager.
“The city is going to get back to us and at the public hearing they are going to be presenting…the plans for the parkway and getting public comment on (them),” said Fratta, adding “There are still some outstanding issues that we have.”
CB 11 still has major questions about the city wanting to remove an unnamed road connecting the Pelham Parkway North service road with the main west-bound roadway just west of Williamsbridge Road, he said.
Also a key concern, and one that caused a large commotion during the earlier phase, will be the installation of a second sidewalk on the parkway side of Pelham Parkway North, said Fratta.
“They are going to be creating a sidewalk again,” he said, explaining that the public does not see the need for, or want, this pedestrian walkway.
Fratta urged the public participation at the hearing because the plans will impact local residents’ lives.
He also expressed concern about the loss of parking on the northern service road between Williamsbridge and White Plains roads next to the parkland because of a narrowing of the roadway.
For Dr. George Zulch, a founding member of the Pelham Parkway Preservation Alliance, the main concern is preserving as many mature trees along the parkway’s northern reaches as possible, as well as mitigating any loses of older trees due to construction with the planting new ones.
“We recognize a need for the project, and we agree with it – improved roads, safety measures put into place,” said Zulch. “At the same time want to see it work together with tree preservation; there is no reason for the forestry to be sacrificed in any great way.”
A PPPA concern is making sure the city sticks to the amount of trees it originally said it would remove during this phase of the reconstruction
“They originally told us 28,” said Zulch, “Now they are saying that number could go higher.”
Zulch is also especially interested in saving an immense elm tree next to a bus stop near Williamsbridge Road.
As for the unnamed street, both Zulch and another PPPA co-founder, Joe Menta, said they do not see any point in removing the short connector in front of NYISE on Pelham Parkway.