Bronx residents are up in arms over a $36 million road improvement project that would require 87 mature trees to be cut down. Officials say the trees roots extend underneath a portion of road that needs to be repaved, and pose a safety hazard. But Baychester resident Joan Ribosh told WCBS, "I feel bad. They’ve been here so long. I lived here in the 50s and 60s, and all the trees are still here.” Thankfully, Regis Philbin is on the scene.
The Bronx native bashed the project on "Live with Regis and Kelly," saying, "Isn't that a shame? Eighty-seven trees...Why in the world would they have to remove 87 beautiful mature, lovely trees that have been there for years, and all of my life. And it's going to cost the city—us—$36 million?" David Varenne of the Pelham Parkway Preservation Alliance thinks there's some borough-ism going on in the city's decision, saying, "If this were Central Park South, or Fifth Avenue, or Greenwich Street, they would do whatever it took [to keep them]. But because it’s the Bronx, they feel they can come in here and just slice them down."
Opponents have collected over 1,000 signatures against the project, which is scheduled to start in the fall. But community board member John Fratta said, “It’s a very dangerous roadway - there are so many accidents. The trees are right against the roadway." In the first six months of 2009, there were 185 accidents on the road. And though Regis is a great spokesman, Matthew Monahan of the Department of Design and Construction said, "it later appeared he was not fully briefed on the plan. Public safety is the city's absolute top priority here." There's already a Facebook group created to save the Pelham Parkway trees.