Rain-soaked potholes lie in wait for drivers along East 161st Street. By Ibrahim Hersi.

                                                       City says help is on the way.

If you’re walking along East 161st Street between Sheridan and Park Avenue without your headphones on, with the borough’s courthouses on one side of the street and the continent’s most famous sports stadium on the other, you’re likely to hear a familiar sound: KA-JUNG.

That’s the sound of yet another vehicle pounding through a pothole.

Uneven surfaces are common on this crucial Bronx artery. Exposed cobblestone and street car tracks are visible through the pavement, even though street cars last ran here in the middle of the last century.

“All those roads are bad,” said Melrose resident Michael Rodriguez, 30, who as a teen rode the Bx6 along the rutted thoroughfare to school in Manhattan every morning. “I wouldn’t even know how to describe how bad they are. You have to be on the road to understand.”

More than a decade later, drivers say conditions are no better.

“I drive this stretch of road daily at work and it is awful,” said a Bronx paramedic who declined to use his name. “There are massive craters. There should be no reason for anything to get this decrepit.”

A local housing organizer agreed.

“Nothing is worse than when you are going downhill and hitting potholes,” said Jeffrey Mensah of Phipps Houses. “It really feels like your vehicle is moving through a roller coaster,” leaving drivers with “the fear of getting your tires damaged.”

But the New York City Department of Transportation says help is on the way. In an email to the Herald, a DOT spokesman said that a capital project to speed up east-west bus service on the Bx6 in the Bronx and Manhattan is in the works. Street reconstruction at some locations along East 161st, including pothole-pocked spans between Sheridan and Park, and River and Gerard Avenue, are a key part of the plan. So are pedestrian safety, street lighting and traffic signal work.

Construction is expected to begin next year and to end in 2028, and will cost $64 million from city and federal transportation funds.

A spokeswoman for the Bronx borough president’s office, located in the Supreme Court building,  said they have long pushed for these improvements.

“We are aware of the conditions along East 161st Street, and have advocated for its repairs,” said Arlene Mukoko, press secretary for the borough president’s office, adding that their office expects that “a capital reconstruction project will take place along East 161st Street, not just a repaving.”

Business boosters are also eager to see the pothole problem addressed.

“Our BID is aware of the street conditions and also the sidewalk conditions throughout the district, including near the McDonald’s across from Yankee Stadium,” said Trey Jenkins, executive director of the East 161st Street Business Improvement District. That BID covers an area extending from River to Morris Avenue along East 161st Street. BID representatives recently guided a walk-through with the DOT’s borough’s commissioner Anthony Perez, to address “sidewalk issues and other DOT issues throughout our BID.”

A vendor selling Jamaican food from a food cart at the corner of E. 161st Street and Concourse Village West said that although she has seen potholes getting filled, those fixes don’t seem to last.

“I find almost months later, that same pothole ends up re-emerging because they don’t fill it properly,” said Fauzia Aminah-Rasheed. “It’s not that it is being ignored so much as that it is not being fixed correctly.”

About Post Author