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St. Paul Avenue reversal hearing set

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Residents of the blocks surrounding St. Paul Avenue in Pelham Bay, who claim they were not sufficiently notified when the direction of one portion St. Paul Avenue was reversed, will finally get to weigh in.

Community Board 10 has scheduled a public hearing for 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, February 23 at the Greek American Institute, 3573 Bruckner Boulevard. In theory, the hearing will allow both sides of the St. Paul matter to air their concerns.

The direction of St. Paul Avenue, between E. 196th Street and Pelham Parkway South, was reversed in 2006 when residents of the residential street complained about heavy traffic exiting Pelham Parkway and using the road as a shortcut to Westchester Avenue. The Pelham Bay Taxpayers and Community Association has led a push to reverse St. Paul back.

“We don’t accept the change,” PBTCA president Ed Romeo said. “They didn’t do a study when they changed it in the first place. No one was there in [2006] to oppose it because no one really knew about the plans to change it until it happened.”

Romeo said he and other PBTCA members feel that the reversal has transformed a one-block stretch of St. Paul Avenue into a “private street.”

“People are backing out of St. Paul Avenue onto E. 196th Street and getting into accidents,” Romeo said.

Nearby Burr Avenue, E. 196th Street and other Pelham Bay streets have all absorbed more traffic thanks to the reversal because three consecutive streets – Colonial, Continental and St. Paul avenues – all run north, into Pelham Parkway South, PBTCA member Frank Tranchese explained.

But residents of the St. Paul Avenue maintain that before the reversal the street was a pedestrian nightmare. Cars sped from Pelham Parkway and used St. Paul as a shortcut to Westchester Avenue.

St. Paul Avenue resident Virginia Valenti is happy with the reversal. It has forced non-local traffic motorists to bypass the neighborhood, altogether, she said.

“If [St. Paul Avenue] is reversed again there will be an increase in accidents,” Valenti remarked.

Reach reporter Patrick Rocchio at 718 742-3393 or procchio@cnglocal.com

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