The Revitalization of Mosholu Parkway, Part 2

Anthony RivieccioFrom The Desk of the NWBxDems
“The Revitalization of Mosholu Parkway, Part 2”
by  Anthony Rivieccio

In my column last week I wrote that since 2009, The Four Bronx Institutions Alliance (FBIA) have been trying to present a “Mosholu Parkway Revitalization Plan” to Community Board 7. This plan would include a refurbishment of the main Roads but not the service roads with an estimated cost of $50 Million. The FBIA is a group comprised of Montefiore Medical Center, Fordham University, The New York Botanical Garden, and The Bronx Zoo.

Back in March the Park’s Committee that is part of Community Board 7  asked the local Councilmen in the area for funding support, via FBIA’s request. But community groups in the neighborhood have stated that they have many requests as well, for their jewel, for Mosholu Parkway.

The plan for New York’s City’s parkway system was conceived during the 1860s with the conception of a system of parks connected by a new type of road called a “parkway.” One man thought that the parkways’ scenic qualities should be utilized to make them extensions of the parks they were connecting. To accommodate an increasing number of drivers, parkway traffic should be divided according to purpose.

The center roadway would be reserved for private traffic while local and commercial vehicles would be routed along parallel side roads. Landscaped greenery would serve to separate the outer and inner roadways. Intersections were eliminated to further deter congestion which resulted in all intersections either being bridged over or tunneled under the parkway.

In 1877, the Department of Public Parks issued plans for existing and planned streets, as well as parks for Mosholu Parkway that were designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. This project was intended to develop the newly acquired areas in a way that would preserve the beauty and park-like characters.

His vision was of a compact business district surrounded by more open residential neighborhoods with spacious and naturalistic parks.

Friends of Mosholu Parkland treeThis is what Elizabeth Quaranta, president of Friends of Mosholu Parkland, and Sheila Sanchez, new president of Friends of Williamsbridge Oval, would like to preserve and expand. Both groups would like to emphasize on the preservation of the land surrounding the park.

The Friends of Mosholu Parkland is a grassroots, all volunteer advocacy group that came about in 2010 when, “it was obviously noticeable that the park malls surrounding Mosholu parkway showed deep signs of erosion from mismanagement” said Ms. Quaranta. “The current state of terrain stems from years of park users, pedestrians, and commuters not being guided or educated on the importance of our natural environment and it’s benefits”.

As Mrs. Sanchez says, “We are a community and the parkway is part of the neighborhood as much as the Oval.” Shelia believes Mosholu Parkway needs, “More trees, gardens, benches, garbage cans, and a cleaning crew all year round, not just in the summer.”

Both expect many benefits from working with the four FBIA institutions, however, they have a “community laundry list” that includes:

  • New pedestrian safe walkways/paths that are environmental friendly in heavy foot traffic areas.
  • Improve and connect Mosholu south side bikeways.
  • Improve existing and create new circle of friends focus areas.
  • Replace and add new composite benches.
  • Pedestrian pathway lightning.
  • Restore the health and ecology of the terrains and create scenic landscape.
  • Sustainable stewardship of the gardens and managed park usage.

ovallgSheila Sanchez believes the community laundry list should also include:

  • A complete restoration of pillars, sidewalks and side roads from Van Cortland south to Webster Ave.
  • Constant Treatment against erosion in the Parkland.
  • A dog run behind Kossuth Park.

A couple of questions come up from this: are we now looking at a $100 million FBIA and community list? Will the lists conflict with each other? Who will mediate to integrate a plan?

And who can afford it?

Community Board 7 along with Council Member’s Andrew Cohen and Ritchie Torres say they have a united plan to make everyone happy.

Next week: The Institutional & Governmental Responses.

Anthony Rivieccio is a long-time northwest Bronx resident and business owner.  And past president of the 204th Street/Bainbridge Aveenue Merchant Association, Committee of 100 Democrats, former member of Community Board 7, and Founder of both the North Bronx Thinktank and the Northwest Bronx Democrats.

Anthony has written columns for The Norwood News, The Riverdale Press, The Bronx News, Parkchester News, The Bronx Times and The Bronx Chronicle.

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