Residents call on DOT to further Pelham Bay Park improvements

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The city DOT was joined by area residents and state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi as they toured Pelham Bay Park back in August.
Photo courtesy Michael Kaess

Broken lighting, protecting cyclists and pedestrians on the greenway, controlling speeding and unsafe slip lanes, adding signage and improving drainage are some of the concerns Pelham Bay Park residents have about the community — with progress starting to finally take shape.

In August, the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) was joined by Progressive state  Sen. Alessandra Biaggi, and nonprofit organizations Transportation Alternatives, City Island Rising Inc., and Friends of the Hutchinson River Greenway as they walked the streets pointing out various issues that need to be fixed.

Since then, the DOT has begun to make some changes. So far, it has installed speed limit signs throughout the park; wrong way signs by I-95 and by the Hutchinson River Parkway entry/exit; refurbished pavement markings at the entryway/exit of the park and greenway, and railings to protect cyclists and pedestrians after the City Island Bridge.

“We’re responding to community concerns to ensure the Pelham Bay Park area is safe for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists,” said DOT Spokesman Vincent Barone.

Barone told the Bronx Times that the DOT plans to install new 30 mph signage on Shore Road by the end of January 2022 and is reviewing alternative designs for the Hutchinson River Parkway exit U-turn. Additionally, DOT is proposing improved bridge and bike facilities as part of its Shore Road Bridge replacement project.

However, according to City Island Rising President John Doyle more needs to be done. Doyle said residents have requested the lighting be fixed on Shore Road and Pelham Parkway Bridge and actuated signals, and protected bike lanes on the City Island Bridge.

Doyle added that in order for Pelham Bay Park to fully get the proper service it deserves, the city Parks Department must transfer its jurisdiction of the community completely over to DOT.

“The area near the exit five Hutchinson U-turn is dangerous,” Doyle said. “There’s a number of safety concerns within the park itself.”

With two ghost bikes along a roadside memorial within the Rodman’s Neck Circle dedicated to cyclists who lost their lives on the road, Doyle hopes pressure from residents and Biaggi will force the DOT to make changes.

The Hutchinson Parkway exit near City Island where people have to make a far left to complete a U-turn, often leading to instances of tire tracks on the roadway. Photo courtesy John Doyle

“Over the past few months, our group has been working closely with Transportation Alternatives and State Senator Alessandra Biaggi to make Pelham Bay Park safer for motorists, pedestrians, bicyclists, and, of course, the deer and wildlife that makes their home within this natural setting,” he said.

Reach Jason Cohen at jcohen@schnepsmedia.com or (718) 260-4598. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes.

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