Pelham Parkway residents are on a mission to eliminate the placement of merchandise outside of Lydig Avenue stores.
Over the last few years, local residents have been concerned over the lack of walking space on Lydig Avenue between Bolton Street and Matthews Avenue.
The lack of space comes as a result of merchandise displayed on the sidewalks outside of local businesses. Residents say the sidewalks are narrow to begin with. The merchandise leaves limited walking space in a community with a high elderly population.
In the late 1990s, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani eliminated a law that made certain city streets a zero-display sidewalk area. Currently, the city allows stores to keep merchandise within three feet of their business, but locals say Lydig Avenue merchants are abusing this regulation.
Pelham Parkway residents and Community Board 11 are starting a petition to bring back the law that will not allow Lydig businesses to display merchandise outside.
“The board has already passed a resolution saying that we will not tolerate stores putting out their merchandise,” said Edith Blitzer, president of the Pelham Parkway South Community Association and CB 11 board member. “We are hoping to have over 1,000 people sign this petition and present it to the City Council.”
The petition was initiated by Blitzer and CB 11 district manager Jeremy Warneke, who has been working on Lydig Avenue issues for over two years. Once CB 11 feels they have enough signatures, they will present the petition to Councilman Jimmy Vacca, who will ultimately present it to the City Council to consider.
“We will definitely have a hard time with the City Council,” Blitzer said. “Something has to be done about Lydig Avenue because it’s getting to be too much. It’s worth a shot.”
Blitzer says the merchandise on sidewalks has been an issue for as long as she can remember. Problems worsened in 2010 when trees were planted in the sidewalk area.
When Warneke took office as district manager in February, he began working with Blitzer on finding possible solutions for Lydig Avenue.
“We’ve spoken to stores about their merchandise but they continue to leave it outside of their stores,” Warneke said. “The goal is to have as many people as possible sign this petition and see what can be done.”
According to Blitzer, there are some merchants in the area that are also fed-up with the sidewalk congestion. She is confident that these store owners will contribute their support for the petition.
The first crack at signing the petition was at the 49th Precinct’s National Night Out on Tuesday, August 2. CB 11 and the PPSCA will allow members to sign when their meetings resume in September.