Sidewalk along Pelham Parkway south carved in concrete, as construction project continues

Construction continues along Pelham Parkway south which began in November of 2011 with the construction of a new unwanted sidewalk.
Photo by Patrick Rocchio

The city says its decision to keep a controversial – and allegedly dangerous – sidewalk along Pelham Parkway is carved in concrete.

But Community Board 11 hasn’t given up its fight to see the sidewalk along the Pelham Parkway South service road ripped up.

While Board 11 is not empowered to take legal action against the city, sources say a lawsuit may be in the works by other parties.

In June, the NYC Department of Design and Construction wrote a letter to outraged citizens and elected officials, saying the new unwanted sidewalks, running from White Plains Road to a block beyond Williamsbridge Road, comply with city standards and will not be ripped up.

City officials argue that despite the new sidewalk narrowing an already narrow street, FDNY firetrucks can still get through safely.

But opponents, including Board 11 and the Uniformed Firefighters Association, disagree.

Besides having to lose already scarce corner parking spaces so the rigs can make tight turns from side streets, the sidewalk makes getting to fires at hi-rise apartments lining the roadway just plain dangerous, they argue.

Their concerns include: tower ladders now have no room to extend their stabilizers to keep them from tipping while trying to reach hi-rise floors and firefighters can’t reach their equipment when compartment doors become wedged in from cars parked on both sides of the narrowed street.

John Fratta, Board 11 assistant district manager, said the board has requested copies of any letter or e-mail between the mayors office and the FDNY regarding the sidewalks.

“They are telling us it is going to take between 30 and 60 days to send what we’re asking for,” Fratta said. “So far we haven’t gotten anything.”

As of June, work completed by the DDC included installation of storm sewers and catch basins from Stillwell to Wilson avenues.

Over the coming weeks, 44 trees will be planted along the middle mall.

“They are done with construction on the service road,” Fratta said. “They are saying they will be done with the main road by the end of the year.”

Work slated to be completed during July and August will include installing storm sewers and catch basins, a curb line and concrete road base on the parkway’s main eastbound roadway from Stillwell Avenue to Wilson Avenue and from Wilson Avenue to Boston Road.

During this phase of construction, left turns will not be permitted for vehicles heading westbound during construction hours from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday to Friday.

Drivers wishing to make left turns are encouraged to use the north and south service roads from which turns are permitted.

“If they complete the work by the end of the year like they are predicting,” said Fratta, “we will be very pleased.”

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