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Pelham Parkway fire safety - and lost parking - riling locals

Bronx Times

A major fire safety issue along a Pelham Parkway service road could also see already scarce parking spaces disappearing.

Local officials are furious a new unwanted sidewalk is hampering fire engines making turns and they want it torn up.

Tower ladders also have trouble fully extending their stabilizers to keep from tipping while trying to reach apartment buildings along the road from White Plains Road to just beyond Williamsbridge Road.

Residents already have lost parking on the south side of the service road because of parkway buses being diverted during reconstruction work until the year’s end.

Fire officials say they plan to solve the turning problem by installing NO STANDING fire zones at corners.

One local official sees politics over safety.

“The first test that we were at, we were told clearly the roadway is too narrow. They could get through, but the roadway was so narrow they can’t open doors and use stablizers,” said John Fratta, Community Board 11 assistant district manager.

“A second test was demanded by the mayor’s office, and now miraculously they would be able to fight a fire,” said an angered Fratta. “I think a phone call had to be made to headquarters by the mayors office saying ‘not to embarass us.’”

Fire and other city agency reps met May 30 at Community Board 11 with community and elected officials, who later said they’re not satisified with the answers they got.

“What they told us is that they have other streets in the Bronx that are very narrow, so why should this be any different?” said Fratta. “Ours was not. It was made narrower because the city put in an unnecessary sidewalk.”

In dispute is whether federal funding for the parkway project required - or merely suggested - building the little-used sidewalk under the Americans With Disabilities Act.

“We’re sticking to our guns. We’ve passed a resolution and we want the sidewalk removed,” said Fratta. “We didn’t want it and we didn’t need it. It was put there for no reason.”

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