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Pelham Parkway project delayed

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How long will this go on? Community Board 11 has become frustrated over the ongoing delays hindering the start of the Pelham Parkway reconstruction.

On Thursday, July 16, representatives of the New York City Department of Design & Construction and the Department of Transportation met with members of Community Board 11 to discuss the ongoing struggle to get this project underway.

According to John Fratta, district manager of CB11, the community board records date the project as far back as 1986, adding that taking into consideration the safety of local residents, the project is long overdue.

“It’s frustrating that there are so many delays and problems getting this project started,” said Fratta. “We are pushing as hard as we can to do whatever has to be done to get the shovel in the ground.”

The meeting, meant to bring all parties up to speed on the project status, outlined the final problem seemly preventing the groundbreaking; all agencies involved have yet to agree on a safety barrier for vehicles.

Three options were outlined including a standard guardrail that would rise approximately 32 inches and remove about 48 trees, a low profile barrier, which would act as a higher concrete curb elevated about 20 inches on the roadway side, and the creation of a clear zone along the roadway resulting in the removal of over 170 trees.

“To be truthful it’s very disappointing, all the time and effort we put into this and all the suggestions we made and I don’t see anything incorporated into the plans,” said Vinny Prezioso, of CB11 and the Northeast Bronx Neighborhood Association. “People have been killed along that parkway for years and they refuse to take trees down; you can always remove and replant a tree but you cant replace a life.”

According to the DDC representatives during the meeting, controversy arose between which option was preferred, taking into accounts both safety and ascetics, by DDC, DOT, the Department of Parks & Recreation and the Public Design Commission.

All but one of the agencies have agreed upon the low profile barrier. In an attempt to move things along, CB11 will be sending a letter to the Design Commission encouraging them to reconsider the objection and attending any future public meetings on the subject to show their support.

“This roadway is extreme dangerous and has to be rebuilt.,” said Fratta.

If all goes well and an agreement is reached the project, now over $47 million, would be ready to begin as early as spring 2010.

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