Con Ed makes light of citizen complaints about bridge

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Con Edison will repair the lights on the pedestrian bridge on 235th Street and Henry Hudson Parkway — news that residents like Steve Reich and Bruce Provinzano will certainly welcome.

That’s because the area near the Spuyten Duyvil Library and P.S. 24 not only has been completely in the dark, Provinzano said, but also quite unsafe.

”I wouldn’t want to walk there at night,” said Provinzano, who lives near the pedestrian bridge. “It’s scary. There are spots there which are completely dark.”

At night, in fact, Provinzano would meet his wife on nights she worked late so she wouldn’t have to make the dangerous journey alone.

The lights have been out for “a long time,” Provinzano said. Con Ed spokesman Robert McGee told The Press in an email that repairs to the lights was scheduled for March 22. .

Provizano tried to report the problem to 311, which provides non-emergency access to city services, but he “couldn’t make them understand where the pedestrian bridge was.” Provinzano instead turned to Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, hoping a call from his office might get someone motivated to make the repairs.

Dinowitz’s office called the transportation department, a spokesman said, and they reported it.

“I’m happy that it’s happening, but I have to see it to believe it,” said Reich, who added his attempts to reach Councilman Andrew Cohen’s office were unsuccessful as the bridge remained dark for more than a month.

Reich would walk the pedestrian bridge at night to visit businesses like Pizza Chef, Starbucks or Key Food. In recent weeks, however, he’s had to drive the distance.

“I wouldn’t want to walk there at night. I’d be scared,” Reich said. “There are spots there which are completely dark.”

Cohen’s office advised him to contact 311, Reich admitted, but he felt the councilman’s office could have done more.

Joshua Stephenson, the community liaison for Cohen’s office, said they advise all residents to first report problems to 311 so there is a record. In his first phone call Feb. 21, Reich failed to leave contact information, Stephenson said, so they were not able to update him of the status. Reich left contact information in his second phone call, however, and it was then they were able to reach him.

Reich disputes this account and said the office already had his contact information from when he had previously contacted them.

Cohen’s office also reported the outage to both the transportation department and Con Edison, Stephenson said.

One bit of confusion centered on who would actually repair the lights, said Michael Heller, chair of Community Board 8’s Traffic and Transportation Committee. The issue involves both the transportation department and Con Edison, meaning there needed to be a determination on which side would have to do the repairs.

In addition to the pedestrian bridge, the outage also impacted the lighting from approximately 232nd and 239th streets and Henry Hudson Parkway, Heller said. They all run on the same circuit.

“It’s not that they just need to replace the light bulbs. There is an actual destruction in the current,” Stephenson said.

“In order to do the repair work, they have to request parking, and they have to give the neighborhood adequate notice.”

Last week’s snowstorm delayed Con Edison from making the necessary repairs, Stephenson added.

With the light at least set to be fixed, Provinzano can breathe a sigh of relief for his neighborhood. “A lot of people really use this overpass,” he said, stressing the real need for the lights coming back on.

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