A public hearing has been called for residents demanding to know why the Birchall Avenue Bronx River Parkway entrance remains closed.
After an outcry from the community looking for relief from the overcrowded traffic going onto the Bronx River Parkway along both Pelham Parkway and Bronx Park East, Community Board 11 will provide a forum for the public to speak up.
A motion for the public hearing was passed during the Thursday, June 25 CB11 meeting.
“Not to many people knew about it, but now with the Pelham Parkway reconstruction scheduled for Spring 2010 this is just going to add to the traffic,” said Joe Bombace of CB11. “If Parks would extend the courteously and open the entrance it would be greatly appreciated.”
According to John Fratta, district manager of CB11, the board has been trying to get the entrance on Birchall Avenue open for years, noticing the negative impact immediately after it’s closure in 2005.
“We are asking the Parks commissioner and the NYS DOT commissioner to attend and explain to the community why they closed this entrance and how they can justify the negative impact it has had on our community,” said Fratta. “We are also going to be asking for an environmental impact study to be done for the pollution from traffic congestion this decision has caused.”
According to a Department of Parks & Recreation representative, the ramp, located on Parks property and a direct route to and from the Bronx Parks Headquarters, was shut down to ensure the safety of Parks employees conducting business on the site.
Despite this, residents feel with the impending reconstruction and an increasing amount of cars on the road, that a solution to the traffic congestion is necessary.
Senator Jeff Klein has also supported the board’s request for a public hearing, addressing a letter to Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe asking for the Bronx Parks Commissioner Hector Aponte to be present for the hearing.
“I think its something that’s important for this community. It’s going to be a lot easier for people, especially in the Morris Park area, instead of cutting across Pelham Parkway,” said Al D’Angelo, CB11 member and president of the Morris Park Community Association. “I used it for years and there were never Parks people in any kind of danger. Their argument that it’s for safety is bologna.”
The hearing will be held on Monday, July 20 in the auditorium of P.S. 83, located 950 Rhinelander Avenue, at 7 p.m. All are encouraged to attend. Guests wishing to speak must sign up prior to the start of the meeting.
For more information contact the CB11 office at (718) 892-6262.