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Traffic flow conflict

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The 2006 reversal of St. Paul Avenue left some Pelham Bayites cheering, while others were upset with the new traffic pattern. Therefore, St. Paul Avenue traffic direction will be the subject of yet another Community Board 10 hearing in 2010.

CB10 will attempt to gauge neighborhood sentiment about the direction of St. Paul Avenue between E. 196th Street and Pelham Parkway South. The block’s traffic reversal n 2006 engendered conflict between people living on St. Paul Avenue and those on the surrounding blocks.

Members of the Pelham Bay Taxpayers and Community Association and the Pelham Bay Pedestrian Safety Initiative are in disagreement about whether the block should be reversed again. CB10 approved the original reversal to northbound in 2005. Some opponents of another reversal argue that St. Paul Avenue will again become a shortcut to Westchester Avenue.

“I have been getting phone calls for weeks from St. Paul residents who are terrified of getting run over or hit in their cars,” said Virginia Valenti of Pelham Bay Pedestrian Safety Initiative in written testimony sent to CB10 on Thursday, November 19. “We believe that inviting shortcut highway traffic onto a residential street in the center of our neighborhood will turn it into a killing ground.”

CB 10 voted to hold the 2010 hearing after several residents from the surrounding blocks objected to the 2006 reversal. Some stated that it has resulted in more traffic on E. 196th Street, Burr Avenue and elsewhere.

“[Prior to the 2006 reversal], the residents of Pelham Bay, wanting to shop in our own community, were able to make a right turn onto St. Paul [from Pelham Parkway for a] a direct line to Westchester Avenue, completely avoiding the disastrous conditions at the Pelham Bay train station, where there are cars, trucks and tandem buses coming from every direction,” Pelham Bay Taxpayers Association member Anita Valenti said. “Instead of dumping the traffic problem onto Burr Avenue…[CB10] could have and should have requested speed humps on St. Paul Avenue.”

CB 10 member Bob Bieder, who hosted the 2005 committee meeting where 23 residents testified in favor of the reversal St. Paul Avenue and six testified against it, thinks that the issues would be resolved if there were more traffic enforcement at Pelham Bay train station.

“This is a safety issue for the people of St. Paul Avenue and I don’t really feel that [the block] should be turned back around,” Bieder said. “We just need greater traffic enforcement at the Pelham Bay train station.”

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