Jose Rodriguez enjoys a good fight.
He’s pitched in during election days, neighborhood causes and has kept his eyes on the streets. His Soundview nabe has known his name since the 70s.
“You have to get involved,” said Rodriguez, a squeaky-voice retiree, who stands as a watchdog for Soundview, mentally logging the area’s issues.
Rodriguez got into high gear after noticing a dangerous pet peeve crop up along The Bruckner Plaza strip mall – uneven sidewalks.
“This was like Coney Island’s Cyclone!” Rodriguez said of the lopsided slabs often elevated or sunken, compared to its adjacent slab.
From his apartment building, Rodriguez saw wheelchair-bound Bronxites and the elderly try to navigate the loopy sidewalks.
“I saw them falling on the floor,” said Rodriguez. “I saw people hitting their head.”
To avoid the crooked concrete, wheelchair-bound Bronxites would often take their chances stepping out into the street, risking traffic.
“They’re scared to come on the sidewalk.”
Hundreds of shoppers pass by the massive shopping center on White Plains Road daily, a major worry for Rodriguez who lives behind the plaza.
It’s also on the other side of the mall – Pugsley Avenue – where locals got tripped up.
Calls to the city’s 311 complaint line proved pointless for Rodriguez. All he got was a complaint number.
He then took the issue to local Councilwoman Annabel Palma, whose staff called the city Department of Transportation, who tracked the 311 complaint.
Inspectors were ordered to check the sidewalks, determining that yes, repairs were needed.
DOT issued work permits to several contractors, including Long Island-based Classic Construction.
Bulldozers and contruction crews have now huddled about the sidewalk, starting in the early morning hours to get the job done.
The sidewalks should shortly be good as new. And they have local Bronxite Jose Rodriguez to thank.
David Cruz can be reach via e-mail at DCruz@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3383