EASTCHESTER, N.Y. – The Tuckahoe Board of Trustees is weighing options about how to best pacify angry commuters and merchants who are concerned about a proposal that would eliminate 67 parking spaces at the Fisher Avenue lot for as long as two months.
The trustees have proposed a plan that would include ripping up the lot, installing an environmentally conscious “water separator” to limit contaminants from vehicles, and repaving the pothole laden lot.
Village officials have received a $331,000 fish and wildlife grant to offset costs of the project, because the “water separator” isolates contaminants from vehicles, making the runoff that leads to the Bronx River completely fresh. The grant expires at the end of the year.
“What we’re doing is making the parking lot more environmentally sound,” Mayor Steve Ecklond said. “All the contaminants that come off vehicles in the parking lot, when it rains, that’s all going into the catch basin, and the pollutants are being dumped into the Bronx River. This will separate the chemicals and we’ll only be pushing fresh water into the Bronx River.”
Non-resident commuters pay as much as $1,600 yearly for a spot at the Fisher Avenue lot, which is within walking distance of the train station. Ecklond noted that he hoped to have the project completed by the end of the summer, despite delays, but is confident that the work will start promptly and be completed before Halloween, just in time for holiday shopping.
If the job is not completed on time, the contractors who submit the winning bid for the project will be subject to as much as a $1,000 daily fine. In all, 29 commuters from New Rochelle and 36 from Eastchester will be affected by the proposed eight-week project.
“We were conscious that we wanted to make sure the job is done before November, because we have merchants in that area and if we had no parking it would put them out of business,” Ecklond said. “I think it will be less than the eight (scheduled) weeks. We’re going to lean on them and put the heat on.”
Options to alleviate the burden on the commuters and merchants that will be affected are very limited, as the other village lots are completely full, and suspending certain parking restrictions would inconvenience homeowners with an overflow of parked vehicles.
“We sought alternate solutions, and we can’t push into other lots, because, like the airlines, we have every seat in our plane sold. We could sell double the amount of parking we have,” Ecklond noted. “It was a difficult decision for us to make. For us, it was really the only decision we have.”
Kim Coddington, who parks in the lot, noted that not all 67 spaces would need to be accounted for, as several commuters may have relatives to drive them to the station or can walk.
“It’s a faulty analysis, since some will find other means. We need to put a letter out and get the real number,” he said. “This is impacting many peoples’ livelihoods and it ought to be taken seriously.”