Just as we can see the end of the Popham Road Bridge construction project, which has snarled downtown traffic for years, another project is in the works that will impact shoppers, commuters and downtown businesses for the years to com.
The Crane Road Bridge, the part of the Bronx River Parkway that takes traffic both north and south of Scarsdale Village, straddling the Bronx River and the train tracks, is need of replacement. The original bridge was designed by Delano and Aldrich, one of New York’s premier architectural firms, who also designed Kykuit, the Rockefeller estate. Built in 1924, the County now says the Crane Road Bridge is “poor condition.” The current four-lane bridge will continue to be used while the County constructs a new bridge. just to the west of the current structure. The project will take 34 months to complete at a cost of $39,425,000, all funded by the County.
The new bridge will have sidewalks and a ramp that will give pedestrian’s access from the bridge to the path along the BronxRiver below it and to the Metro North platforms.
Construction is due to begin this month and scheduled to last for 34 months, almost three years. Phase 1, the first 10 months of the project, will involve work underneath the bridge and will not impact traffic.
But here’s the kicker. Ten months from now, in March, 2013 both the north and south bound exits of the Bronx River Parkway at Crane Road are scheduled to be closed for two years during the construction of the new bridge. Cars travelling on the Bronx River Parkway in either direction will no longer be able to exit at Scarsdale Village. Cars travelling south on the parkway will need to access the Village via the Greenacres Avenue exit, and travel south on Fox Meadow Road. Though this is not an official detour, local residents may use this route which could greatly increase traffic along Fox Meadow Road. For access from the south, cars will need to exit at Harney Road and travel up Scarsdale Road or Garth Road…. again an inconvenience.
Furthermore, 17 of the parking spaces in the merchants’ parking lot next to the Scarsdale train station will become a staging area for the equipment needed to build the bridge. These parking spaces will no longer be available to the merchants who park there to free-up spots for customers. According to Assistant Village Manager Steve Pappalardo, merchants who currently park there will be given permits to park at designated Scarsdale resident permit spaces located on Scarsdale Avenue and Depot Place. This will reduce the number of spaces available to commuters.
With parking already tight downtown, the loss of these spaces is certain to affect business and retail traffic. The Village points out the County paid the Village of Scarsdale $267,000 for an easement to use the space, but those funds are not going to help frustrated shoppers who cannot find parking spaces in the Village.
The good news is that the Popham Road Bridge should be completed in December, 2012, before the Crane Road Bridge project forces the closure of the Bronx River Parkway exits. But it will be a long time before all of this work will be behind us. Learn more about the plans at the Westchester County website here: