By Sabina Mollot
Following the announcement on Thursday that the First Avenue Loop would be closed to traffic and parking for 4-6 weeks, starting Monday, nearby residents have been left wondering why there was barely any notice and of course, where they were supposed to park in the meantime.
Since last week, Council Member Dan Garodnick said his office has been on the receiving end of many complaints, in particular due to the minimal information offered in official notices that had been posted along the Loop Road.
“I have asked for a complete explanation for the community about the need for the project and why it was not disclosed earlier and for ways they can try and limit the time and the inconvenience,” he said on Monday morning.
He added that for some residents, the closure is “beyond an inconvenience. It really is a necessity for disabled parkers, for school bus pickups and for Access-A-Ride.” The lack of information, added Garodnick, “is extremely disrespectful to people who rely on it.”
The initial notice, which was also announced via an email from the ST-PCV Tenants Association, only explained that the closure was due to necessary work related to an electrical upgrade.
But by this afternoon, more details about the project were made available online by CWCapital.
In the notice, CWCapital said that the work is to replace and repair aged infrastructure and damaged power lines that run directly beneath the road. Though not currently used to power any buildings, they “will be necessary to provide adequate power to the new management office.”
As for why the work had to be done immediately, CW said the work was not planned as part of the construction of the management office, but deemed imminent after the special servicer consulted with Con Ed and other experts.
“We did not expect these power lines to be as badly damaged as they were,” CW said. “We worked closely with Con Ed and our engineers to identify alternate, less disruptive ways to address the issue. Ultimately, all the experts agree that this is the best and safest option.”
Meanwhile, until the work is completed, any drivers that attempt to park on the First Avenue Loop can expect to have their cars towed, management warned. The only exceptions for vehicles even being allowed in is for emergency vehicles, Access-A-Ride and “small school buses.” Large buses “may not be able to access the Loop Road during this work.” While the work is ongoing, public safety officers will be on the scene. The road will be closed from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
One resident strolling by at 2:45 p.m. on Monday overheard an officer at the scene saying that cars could come in for dropoffs, but no through traffic or parking was allowed. At that time, there were four officers manning the First Avenue Loop entrance at 18th Street, who, he said, looked like police, not public safety officers.
In response to the new information, Garodnick said he would like to know, if the roads are only going to be closed during the day, why at least disabled residents can’t park their cars overnight.
(We’ll update this post if we get a response from management on this one.)
Residents with questions have been directed by CWCapital to call (212) 253-3653 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Sabina Mollot