People who live and work along Pelham Parkway South say a city project to improve the well traveled Bronx road has made it worse. NY1's Erin Clarke filed the following report.
A sidewalk in Morris Park is causing quite a stir. Folks who live and work along the street between Williamsbridge Road and Wilson Avenue say the city's recent installation of a sidewalk on the service road is putting lives at stake by leaving the roadway too narrow for firetrucks to turn onto.
"The Bronx delegate to the United Firefighters Association has testified in our lawsuit against the City of New York that indeed, this design, based on road widths to the 1890s adversely affects response time of the FDNY," said David Steven of Concerned Citizens for Pelham Parkway South.
They even asked the local fire house to drive its rig down Pelham Parkway South as a test.
"The captain told us, he said, 'Listen, it's very tight.' He said we could just about make it through the street, but we don't have room to even open our side doors to get our equipment out," said Community Board 11 Assistant District Manager John Fratta.
An FDNY spokesman says after the city prohibited parking at the end of each block where the sidewalk has been installed fire trucks were able to make the turn and maneuver down Pelham Parkway. But opponents say getting rid of parking isn't the answer. They took their claims to court hoping to get rid of the sidewalk.
Other than their concern should a fire break out in this neighborhood, residents say this sidewalk just isn't safe. They say it leads to nowhere. The sidewalk ends where Pelham Parkway South meets Wilson Avenue near Jacobi Medical Center where there isn't a crosswalk.
The city contends that the changes were made to improve the roadway which it says is safe despite what residents think.
"I pray to God there's no fire here and no one gets killed," said one Morris Park resident.
The city says the sidewalk should stay because opponents had plenty of time to object when it was first proposed three years ago and even while it was being built.
On Monday, a judge considered only whether the case should be heard at all.
He did not say when he will announce a decision.