Residents' patience falls along with wall


From a streak of burst water pipes to upcoming parking and driving restrictions, problems on Cannon Place have residents living along the hilltop road in Kingsbridge furious.

The street will see parking and driving restrictions kick in on Wednesday, March 12, when a contractor begins work to repair a tall wall supporting the hill that a block of Cannon Place stands on. City engineers discovered the wall was collapsing about three years ago amid a clash between residents and a developer, and declared the situation had become an emergency last fall.

Department of Design and Construction (DDC) officials said the body is starting a roughly $3.5 million project to build a new wall over the next 18 months. The first phase will see a temporary wall go up while the old one is demolished, and finally a steel and concrete structure with a stone finish.

During construction, workers will replace a sewer partially destroyed by the erosion of Cannon Place, according to DDC’s Deputy Assistant Commissioner Ali Mallick and engineer Kalpesh Matel, who were among speakers at a community meeting on the matter last week. Workers will replace water and gas lines underneath the street, although officials did not explicitly tie the fixes to the erosion of the road.

The DDC estimated that for about seven to eight weeks starting this month, Cannon Place and part of West 238th Street will have no parking and a partial roadway closure. Traffic will be completely blocked for two to three weeks, when workers replace the sewer line.

Addressing several dozen community members at the Kingsbridge Heights Rehabilitation and Care Center at 3426 Cannon Place on March 6, the DDC’s Executive Director Maria Centeno apologized for the short notice her department had given out and sought to strike a conciliatory tone.

“I understand that this is not necessarily very good news,” she said. “It’s necessary work, but it’s not good news. I understand that.”

A FDNY official at the meeting said officials had visited the neighborhood to make sure firefighters can access homes in case of emergency during the road restrictions.

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