By Carol P. Bartold, Senior Reporter
Jul. 26, 2017: Mayor Mary Marvin has reported that the appearance and condition of the Pondfield Road underpass at the Bronxville Metro-North Railroad Station became a topic of discussion at a recent meeting of the revived Retail Mix Committee.
Merchants, property owners, residents, and village officials who attended the meeting commented that the underpass, which serves as a gateway between the east and west side business districts, detracts from the clean and attractive aesthetic that village business and property owners work to project.
Built early in the 20th century, the underpass sidewalks and roadway have become the repository for debris beneath the station platforms and tracks and on the steps. In addition, bird droppings, rusted handrails, electrical fixtures and conduits, peeling paint, and the ponding of water on the underpass sidewalks after every rain and snowstorm continue to be chronic problems.
Jim Palmer, village administrator, noted that The Metropolitan Transportation Authority ("MTA") installed new LED lighting in the spring, although, according to an MTA spokesperson, lighting is within the village’s area of responsibility. Metro-North Railroad stated that, within the last two years, the railroad painted the two spans of the underpass that it owns. Palmer said that Metro-North also did some maintenance work on the steel girders and railings.
Some responsibilities for maintaining some areas of the underpass fall to the MTA and others to the village. "The ownership and easement areas are very complex and convoluted, to say the least," Palmer stated. He explained that the village is responsible for maintaining the roadway and sidewalks parallel to that roadway, although MTA bears responsibility for water that drips down to those areas from the tracks.
Palmer stated that he has approached the MTA about the dripping water. "I have brought this to the attention of their government affairs office and am waiting for them to provide me a walk-around date on these issues," he said. He added that he expects that to be scheduled for August when the MTA plans to do some painting work.
Metro-North Railroad has no additional plans to work on the underpass, which the agency described as structurally safe and sound. The railroad does have plans to improve the station area, which include painting the station building's exterior, the enclosed walkways from Pondfield Road to the platforms, and platform canopies and railings.
"This work will further enhance the downtown business area," said Nancy Gamerman, Metro-North spokesperson. "Metro-North will continue to work with the village in a cooperative manner."
The Bronxville Chamber of Commerce did not respond to two email requests for comment on the Pondfield Road underpass.
Pictured here: Rusting entrances to the Bronxville underpass.
Photos by N. Bower