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The battle for St. Theresa Avenue is hardly over. Last year, Pelham Bay residents, St. Theresa School parents and St. Theresa Church parishioners asked the city’s Department of Transportation for stop signs where St. Theresa meets Pilgrim Avenue, and were snubbed.

Motorists careen down St. Theresa from Westchester Avenue, endangering school children and elderly parishioners. But on the morning of a 2008 DOT traffic study, only 329 vehicles crossed Pilgrim on St. Theresa – fewer than the requisite 500. Councilman James Vacca and Senator Jeff Klein have convinced DOT Borough Commissioner Constance Moran to look at St. Theresa again. According to spokesman Monty Dean, the DOT will reconsider stop signs at St. Theresa and Pilgrim, and will conduct a new traffic study at St. Theresa and Edison avenues. Vacca met with Moran in Pelham Bay on May 1.

“We need to slow traffic on St. Theresa,” Vacca said. “We need to go back to the drawing board. The current situation is not acceptable.”

Moran denied the 2008 request for a number of reasons. A crossing guard patrols the intersection of St. Theresa and Pilgrim during school hours. The DOT would install stops signs if five preventable accidents occurred at the intersection during a 12-month period. In 2008, just two accidents occurred.

On the afternoon of the DOT’s traffic study, 262 vehicles crossed Pilgrim on St. Theresa. Only 59 school children crossed St. Theresa on foot – fewer than the requisite 100. According to the study, most eastbound motorists cross Pilgrim on St. Theresa going a paltry 25 miles per hour. Most westbound motorists cross going 24 miles per hour.

Pelham Bay resident and St. Theresa parishioner Frank Tranchese circulated a petition in favor of stop signs at St. Theresa and Pilgrim last year, and collected more than 300 signatures. Tranchese recently drove to the top of St. Theresa and let his car coast to Pilgrim. He hit Pilgrim at 25 miles per hour. Most people go 35 or 40, Tranchese said.

St. Theresa School sits on the corner of St. Theresa and Pilgrim. According to Tranchese, a school for children with disabilities is located nearby. When DOT denied the 2008 request, Klein wrote to the boss – DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan.

Pelham Bay residents asked the DOT for a speed hump on St. Theresa years ago; the DOT ruled St. Theresa too wide. If the study precludes stop signs at St. Theresa and Edison, the DOT could mark St. Theresa a reduced speed zone.

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