Planned construction at the intersection of White Plains Road and Allerton Avenue has merchant groups concerned about the detrimental effects of water shutoffs on nearby businesses.
The project is part of the city’s ‘Safe routes to transit’ initiative, which will extend the sidewalks at bus stops under elevated trains so that commuters don’t have to wait in between the traffic lanes to board a bus.
The merchant groups are looking forward to the new ‘bus bulbs’ which will improve safety for residents.
“It’s a hazard,” said Gene DeFrancis of the Allerton International Merchants Association about the current situation.
“The project is a good project,” said Joe Thompson, executive director of the White Plain Road Business Improvement District.
The construction, due to start in March, will cause a variety of disruptions at the intersection including temporary relocated bus stops, parking restrictions, partial traffic closures, and times where only one entrance to the elevated train station will be open.
But the merchant groups are not particularly concerned with those inconveniences.
“The problem is water,” said Thompson.
The construction project also includes replacing water mains at the site, causing periodic water shutoffs in the immediate area during business hours.
At a meeting coordinated by Community Board 11 with the NYC Department Design and Construction, assistant district manager John Fratta was told there would be a three-week window for either side of White Plains Road where water could be shutoff periodically.
And although the DDC will provide notice several days before a planned water shutoff, the businesses don’t know how many shutoffs will happen during the construction period.
The merchants are particularly concerned about restaurants and other businesses that require water to be open.
“You could lose a lot of money over the three weeks,” said Thompson.
And that’s assuming the DDC doesn’t encounter unexpected problems while replacing the water mains, extending the project, said Thompson.
“We’re expecting the worst but hoping for the best,” said DeFrancis.
Merchants will have an opportunity to have their concerns addressed by the contractor at a meeting next week.
“It is the policy of DDC to be good neighbors in those communities experiencing our construction activities,” a DDC spokesman said in a statement. “To that end we are consulting with our contractor on ways to lessen the impact on the community, particularly water shutoffs.”
He said the department will have a more detailed construction schedule by the middle of March and will keep stakeholders informed.
The meeting for merchants will take place at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, February 25 in the McDonald’s conference room at 2516 White Plains Road.