Protestors gathered at an accident prone intersection in Allerton to call for a traffic light that they said is badly needed to protect children and the elderly.
Members of the Bronx Park East Community Association rallied near an entrance to Bronx Park on Wednesday, Oct. 9. to call on the city Department of Transportation to install a traffic light or calming devices at the corner of Waring Avenue and Bronx Park East.
After a three-car accident on Wednesday, Oct. 2, coming on the heels of another accident in the summer, BPCA president Raphael Schweizer said that local residents were increasingly concerned about the safety of people crossing the street as they enter and exit Bronx Park, or go to their cars.
“This is a main entrance to the park, there is a school nearby [P.S.96], and there is no crosswalk,” he said.
The city Department of Transportation has recently conducted a traffic study, he added, and did not find any need for traffic controls at that location.
He said that he believes that DOT sincerely cares about the pedestrian safety, and have pledged to put crosswalk markings on the street at one point, but that the agency is “relying too much on engineering studies and not enough on common sense,” he said.
“It is like a highway here, he added, gesturing towards the street. “What is there to stopping cars from just going through and treating the corner like this is not even a crossing?”
Local resident Donal Holway, 70, said the DOT was applying accident standards for what is fast and unsafe that are more designed for major arteries, like nearby White Plains Road.
Michael Yagoda, who has lived in the area for 60 years, said that Bronx Park East’s traffic has descended into “anarchy” and there is no real traffic control on the wide street between Pelham Parkway North and Mace Avenue.
“I just watched this corner and it has become so dangerous because there are more children in the neighborhood, more people in the neighborhood, walkers, wheelchairs, and of course, cars…there is really not enough traffic control at this point,” he said.
Paula Diaz, who has lived in the neighborhood for 23 years and walks with a cane, said it sometimes takes several minutes to cross the wide thoroughfare, and feels that the time has come for a traffic light or something beyond a stop sign.
“The cars don’t even stop, and I am handicapped and have a cane,” she said. “You see the cars speed. And motorcycles? Forget it, they just go zoom! And no one is saying anything.”
Many people in the area have children, and families have to cross the street to get to the community’s playground, she said. It is also not the first time that a traffic light has been requested, she added.
Senator Jeff Klein wrote a letter to the city DOT on Sept. 30 asking that they reassess the situation, calling for the “installation of a traffic light or other traffic control devices.”
“Please note that this is a busy intersection, with hundreds of children and adults having to pass this crossing to enter the park at this location, in addition to the students going to and from Public School 96, which is located merely a block away,” stated Klein.
Schweizer said that a stop sign will not be suitable to calm the traffic, and that he has heard that speed humps apparently are not feasible because of the width of the street, which is lined with the park on one side and mostly residential buildings on the other.