These east Bronx residents are losing patience – after almost 50 years – of waiting for a traffic light.
The corner of Coddington and Crosby avenues has been a dangerous intersection for as long as anyone living in Waterbury-LaSalle can remember, with at least five accidents and any number of close calls in just the past three years, said local community activist Joe Oddo.
That included a car careening onto a sidewalk and hitting the fence of a corner house, and another crashing into a local Chinese restaurant at the corner, said Oddo.
Luckily the accident happened at night, said Nickki Zhang, 33, who works in her family business, Six Happiness Chinese Restaurant. Nevertheless it cost her family income for six weeks.
The problem was evident more than 50 years ago, when a group of local mothers with small children staged a traffic “slowdown” at the intersection by walking baby strollers back and forth across Crosby Avenue, said local resident Mary Collins who participated in the demonstration.
“Nobody was paying any attention to us, so we decided to have a slowdown, and we took baby carriages and kept walking across street,” she said. “My daughter, who was a baby then, turned 53 recently. I would like to try to put a bonnet on her now!”
Oddo pointed out several issues he said have led to numerous crashes, including a bend on Crosby Avenue that pushes southbound motorists to one side of the corner with Coddington Avenue, where there is a blind-spot on both sides of the streets.
The blind spots are so bad for motorists looking to continue past Crosby Avenue on Coddington Avenue that have to drive out into the street, often into on-coming traffic, said Oddo.
Waterbury-LaSalle Community Association board member Annie Boller and other local drivers agreed, saying that tall SUVs and trees often make it difficult to see oncoming traffic going eastbound on Coddington through the intersection.
Petition to DOT
“I collected over 200 signatures in 2 1/2 hours on a petition for a traffic light at this intersection,” said Oddo. “It is unheard of. We have discussed this for 53 years.
Community Board 10 district manager Kenneth Kearns said that the board asked DOT for a traffic light, citing low visibility.
“We had put in a request and it was turned down because there are traffic lights already at both Waterbury and Zulette avenues, and there are only two cross streets between the two lights,” he said. Local City Councilman Jimmy Vacca also added his voice to the need for a traffic light, saying “Crosby Avenue is becoming a speedway.”
A spokesman for DOT, Nicholas Mosquera, said a new traffic study is now underway.
“DOT had received earlier community requests on this location and currently has a study underway at the intersection of Crosby and Coddington avenues,” said Mosquera. “This is scheduled for completion this summer and we will provide an update when available.”