18, No. 15
28 - Aug. 24, 2005
Advocates Want Rehab of Streets Near Library
Advocates hope Poe
Place (left) and Coles Lane (right) can be rehabbed in time for new
borough library. Photos by Danielle
By DANIELLE WHYTE
borough’s new regional library opens early next year on Kingsbridge Road,
community advocates want to make sure that two North Fordham streets in the
immediate vicinity are no longer eyesores.
Coles Lane and Poe Place are two small dead-end streets that have been a
magnet for litterbugs and vagrants. Coles Lane, which joins Kingsbridge Road
and Bainbridge Avenue, was repaved recently but it is still used as a
dumping ground and is a haven for loiterers.
Poe Place is a dead-end street with drainage problems, loads of trash and
damaged sidewalks and curbs.
Fordham Bedford Housing Corporation (FBHC), in collaboration with the City
College Architectural Center, is proposing a redesign for the two streets
that “will add additional lighting, greenery, and be
handicapped-accessible,” said Rosanna Viera of FBHC.
FBHC is planning to share its proposal with the Department of Design and
Construction (DDC) and the city Department of Transportation (DOT).
“DOT has always been aware of our problem; it’s more of presenting it to DDC
and to try to get everyone on board who is going to be a part of the design
and building,” Viera said.
DOT says things are still in the fact-finding stage.
“Right now things are in the preliminary phases,” said Craig Chin, a DOT
spokesman. “We need to meet and discuss and find out what to do. They [FBHC]
are going to bring their proposal and bring the borough commissioner up to
speed.” The Bronx DOT commissioner is Joe Palmieri who, since appointed in
2003, helped get the streets paved and steps repaired.
FBHC manages 80 buildings in the northwest Bronx and its Office of Policy
and Planning, which works on public infrastructures and community and
housing development, has raised about $2 million from elected officials to
improve Poe Park, which is close to the two problem streets.
FBHC first began lobbying for improvements to the two streets in 2001, when
plans for the new $50 million Bronx Borough Library were announced. The new
library will dramatically increase traffic in the area and FBHC wanted to
make the two roads safer and more attractive.
“There’s been very minor improvements,” said Viera. “The garbage problems
have gotten a little better but there’s still graffiti and illegal dumping
still takes place.”
FBHC succeeded in getting the DOT to make some repairs to Coles Lane, but
many of the steps are still hazardous and uneven. Coles Lane is also very
steep, which Viera considers dangerous, and there is still loitering at
“They should keep working on it,” said Sergio Fernandez, a Coles Lane
resident. “Some people come out of nowhere and do graffiti.”
FBHC hopes to coordinate their construction proposal with the Bronx Borough
Library by incorporating similar materials. The new library will feature
glass walls that will overlook Poe Place and Coles Lane.
“We want the view from the library to be more pleasant and coincide, not
contrast, [with] the new library,” said Viera.
But there are still no definite plans for the Poe and Coles makeover.
“We’re moving forward but these projects take time and patience,” said Viera.
“We still have a long way to go.”
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