For shoppers and residents walking along East Fordham Road in the Bronx, it may not come as a surprise that this heavily traveled corridor made a list of pedestrian hot spots identified in NYCDOT’s recently released report, World Class Streets.
At any given point, the sidewalks are jammed packed with people bustling in and out of stores. According to the report, which highlights various NYCDOT initiatives designed to improve public space, more than 80,000 pedestrians walk along a 1.1 mile stretch of this popular Bronx retail strip during an average 12-hour weekday period. (This is more than on many famous international shopping streets, such as London’s Regent Street.)
The numbers make Community Board 6’s charge that a loss of parking on Fordham Road is hurting local businesses hard to believe. In yesterday’s Daily News, the board blames struggling business not on the economy, but on the removal of parking, and calls on NYCDOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan to reinstate the parking. Such as action would suspend the speedy Select Bus Service, a service implemented this summer that now occupies the lane.
Fordham Road, a major boulevard running from east to west Bronx, has long been a shopping destination for countless Bronxites and others looking for the latest fashions or the best deals. High foot traffic is great for business, and given the high pedestrian counts, it’s likely that most shopping is supported by pedestrians, not by drivers.
The World Class Streets report points out that sidewalks along East Fordham Road are crowded 54% of the day. In most places, sidewalks are wide enough — 19 feet in this area — but sidewalk space is drastically reduced by street vendors and outdoor store displays, pushing pedestrians into the street, challenging the mobility of wheelchair users, and compromising the safety of children and the elderly.
NYCDOT is implementing a variety of street enhancements citywide that improve walking conditions for pedestrians such as the creation of public plazas and improved sidewalk interfaces, especially at bus stops. Most recently, the department finished improvements at the Bronx Hub in Melrose.