Community Board 11, local residents, and Allerton merchants rejoiced after the Department of Transportation returned with welcomed changes to the Pelham Gardens Safe Streets for Seniors Program.
Following a meeting held on Tuesday, July 7 where those affected came to voice their distaste for a plan to turn Allerton Avenue into a one-lane road through Olinville Avenue, DOT has revised its plans.
Merchants were concerned that the reduction in lanes would create a severe traffic problem for the business strip, discouraging customers from visiting the area.
Last week, Joe Thompson, chair of the Olinville/Bronx Park East committee of CB11, received notice that DOT would not be altering the roadway between Boston Road and Bronx Park East, leaving intact two lanes of traffic with no bike lane.
“Constance Moran [DOT Bronx Borough Commissioner] told us the section of Allerton Avenue between Boston Road and Bronx Park East will remain unchanged,” said Thompson. “I think the significant part is that the community board held a couple of meetings and the community came out and Assemblywoman Naomi Rivera was also supportive. I think most importantly, we were told the change was a done deal, and still our concerns were considered. I take my hat off to Connie Moran.”
The restructuring will still occur between Boston and Gun Hill roads, slowing down traffic through the reduction to one lane and therefore increasing the pedestrian safety. Bike lanes and a designated turn lane or pedestrian islands will be placed at specified locations.
According to DOT, three refuge islands will be constructed along Allerton Avenue, starting this week.
“The Allerton Homeowners Association had no problems with those changes,” said Thompson. “I felt the changes were good changes in that it would slow traffic down and accomplish what they want to accomplish; to make it easier for seniors to cross.”
DOT will continue to stick with the original plan in regards to the exit ramps from the Bronx River Parkway, turning the one lane into two to prevent the current back up of vehicles.
“We appreciate DOT listening to the community board and understanding that this one section between Olinville and Boston Road would be different, so we are glad they decided to leave that portion alone,” said John Fratta, district manager of CB11.
“The rest of the project we support totally especially from Boston Road going east where we could slow the speeding and have turn lanes to make Allerton a lot safer.”
©2009 Community News Group