Here we go again. The sidewalks surrounding one of the Bronx’s busiest train stations remained covered in icy snow and none of the city agencies involved wanted to take responsibility.
The Metro Transit Authority, New York City Department of Transportation and the New York City Department of Parks have been passing the buck over who is to clean the snow from the sidewalks that surround the Pelham Bay Park IRT train station for what seems like forever, and local residents and officials have had enough.
Since the blizzard in December, each of the agencies claimed that it wasn’t its job to clean off the sidewalks and because of the ongoing dispute, transit users faced a dangerous icy situation.
After the ice storm on the morning of Wednesday, February 2 left sidewalks like an ice skating rink, pedestrians outside of the train station were slipping and falling, according to Ed Romeo of the Pelham Bay Taxpayers Association.
“Nobody accepts responsibility for cleaning it or paying attention to it,” Romeo said. “Even MTA workers park their personal vehicles on the sidewalks making it even harder for people to walk on the snow and ice covered area. Nobody wants to take responsibility for it, but they use it for their own advantage.”
After several reports of people falling, Councilman Jimmy Vacca made the next move. On Friday, February 4, he arranged a meet at the Pelham Bay Park Station with representatives of all three agencies to have the snow and ice removed from the walkways.
“When you have a dispute over who gets to clean what and when they will do it, nothing gets done,” Vacca said. “This is a major part of the neighborhood that pedestrians must be able to access at all times. We cannot be having ice and snow not be removed throughout a whole winter. This dispute needs to end now.”
The sidewalks around the train station entrance and bus stops for the Bx5, Bx12, Bx14, Bx21, Bx29, QBx1 and W45 were finally shoveled and salted.
Vacca said that he is determined to make sure this doesn’t happen again this winter or in the future, and is setting up a meeting with the city’s largest agencies to clarify which of them will be in charge of cleaning particular locations after a snowfall.
As for the rest of the 2011 winter, the MTA has stated that they will take full responsibility in cleaning the sidewalks around the station.