New York officials say that the Pelham Parkway service road in the Bronx is one of the more dangerous roads in the city, causing numerous truck and dangerous roads. The large trees that line the parkway have grown into the street in some places, creating traffic obstacles. The city applied for and received federal money to improve the roadway that had become increasingly dangerous.
However the money came with conditions, conditions that are making some people change their minds about changes to the roadway. Accepting federal funds required the city to install sidewalks that meet Americans with Disabilities Act specifications. The sidewalks on both sides of the street narrowed the road to 26 feet. Before the repairs, the road was 30 feet wide. 30 feet is the standard width for a one way street in New York City.
The project cost $14 million, and should be completed by mid-April. In addition to dealing with the trees, the improvements should reduce the annual spring flooding that has created hazards for drivers and residents. The offending sidewalks were required on both sides of the street because residents wanted parking on both sides of the street. ADA requirements require sidewalks wherever there is parking.
Residents may have been angered because their driveways and yards were affected by the construction of sidewalks. As in many cities, homeowner property lines had expanded over the years and although the new sidewalks are on public property, homeowners had become used to the expanded boundary lines. More important, they were required to repair their lawns and driveways at their own expense after installation of the sidewalks.
Did the city go too far? The assistant director of Community Board 11 said that there had been several fatalities and severe injuries on the Parkway and that it was time to deal with it. However, one resident summarized the feelings of many when he said, “”It’s going to be more dangerous because the road is going to be narrower.”
City officials probably cannot win in this situation.
Source: CBS.NewYork, “Bronx Residents Say Pelham Parkway Too Narrow After Construction Aimed At Safety,” Apr. 2, 2012.