Several months ago, the City commenced a planning analysis of New Rochelle’s West End, one of our community’s oldest and most densely populated neighborhoods. Funded by the federal community development block grant (CDBG), this analysis featured several public meetings, as well as expert assessment of land use patterns, mobility issues, and physical conditions.

On August 22, we released the final product of this analysis, a “West End Needs Assessment” that reviews the area in detail and makes recommendations for future improvements.

Some measures are already moving forward, such as the restructuring of the Union Avenue parking lot to expand neighborhood parking options and the enhancement of pedestrian access to Columbus Elementary School. Other recommendations might be implemented in conjunction with the Sound Shore Medical Center streetscape project. And some may be dependent on the receipt of additional grants in the years to come.

The West End Assessment is likely to be embedded in the City’s updated Comprehensive Plan. It’s a good example of how the Comprehensive Plan’s broad outlines will be linked firmly to specific actions and initiatives in targeted neighborhoods. Over time, this process permits a more rational allocation of scarce resources for infrastructure and other needs, especially with respect to federal dollars, the use of which is restricted to areas with socio-economic challenges.

As an aside, for those who don’t know, the West End is a really vibrant neighborhood. For a hundred years or more, it’s been New Rochelle’s unofficial immigrant gateway — first German, then Italian, and now heavily Hispanic. You can still get the world’s best Italian ice at Saccone’s on 6th Street at Washington Avenue, right across from Columbus School. (Lemon is my favorite — watch out for the lemon seeds.)