Plans outlined for parkway rehab

Pelham Parkway is ready to enter rehab.

A plan to replace the aging Pelham Parkway roadways and infastruture over a two-year period has drawn concern about traffic disruptions. The project is necessary to secure the future of the parkway as a safe traffic artery for years to come.

The $36 million renovation, planned since 1986, begins this fall and continues until the fall of 2012. The Department of Design and Construction has pushed the project forward as the parkway has gotten older and the population increases in the surronding communties.

DDC spokesman Craig Chin said roadways, storm sewers and combined sewers will be reconstructed. New water mains, sidewalks and curbs will be installed. The construction will also include new street lights, traffic signals and a new Bus Rapid Transit Lane.

“This project is just something that has got to get done,” said Community Board 11 district manager John Fratta. “Complaints have been coming into our office for years about the quality of the road. The project has been in the works since 1986, and we have been pushing it for 14 years.”

Fratta said that he believes that some traffic fatalities on Pelham Parkway can be at least partially attributed to the quality of the road, speeding and the closeness of trees to the traffic lanes.

“We have had many deaths on that roadway,” Fratta said.

Some details on the work being undertaken by the Department of Design and Construction in conjunction with the Parks Department, Department of Transportation, and Department of Enviormental Protection and other agencies were made public at a hearing on Wednesday, May 12, held at Aging in America at 1500 Pelham Parkway.

Concerns were raised by the community over traffic disruptions, water service interruptions, reduced parking, tree planting, and rodent control.

Chin said that a rodent control specialist will bait the work area. He also said that notice would be given before water mains were replaced, to alert homeowners of service interuptions. The Parks Department will replace about 85 trees that are either dying or too close to the roadway with 236 new ones. In addition, CB 11 will set up a task force with Jacobi Hosptial and DDC to make sure that changes in traffic patterns during the construction do not hinder emergency vehicles from reaching the hosptial.

Larry Prospect, executive director of the White Plains Road Business Improvement District, was concerned about the staging area for construction vehicles and materials and how it would affect business on the shopping strip.

“The devil is in the details on this,” Prospect said. “We will sit down with the contractor at the community board and work on details. The first concerns are where the workers going to park their cars and where they are going to store the heavy equipment. Those could create major problems.”

Reach reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 742-3393 or

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