CB 10 committee favors St. Paul Avenue reversal

Change it back!

Community Board 10 Municipal Services Committee has voted to recommend the reversal of the direction of St. Paul Avenue between E.196th Street and Pelham Parkway South, a member said. It also will request that the Department of Transportation conduct a study on installing a series of traffic controls at the Pelham Parkway off-ramp leading to the street.

The full board is expected to consider the recommendation at its next board hearing, to be held at 2780 Schurz Avenue, on Thursday, March 18. While the board doesn’t have to follow the committee’s decision, they are most likely will adopt the recommendation, according to sorces.

“It will then be in the hands of DOT,” said CB 10 municipal service committee member Joe Regina.

The ruling comes on the heals of a boisterous public hearing held at the Greek American Institute on Tuesday, February 23 where 50 residents from St. Paul Avenue and surrounding blocks testified both for and against keeping the current direction of the street. Residents of the surrounding blocks claim that they did not receive proper notification of the change in direction in 2006.

The change left three streets in a row runningtowards Pelham Parkway South: Colonial, Continental, and St. Paul avenues. Traffic exiting the parkway near St. Paul Avenue has to travel to the end of the service road and then make a right onto Burr Avenue.

Andrew Chirico, a CB 10 member, commented that he feels Burr Avenue is not large enough to handle all of the traffic.

“The last four years have been a real-life test, and maybe an unscientific one, but nevertheless proof that three streets all in the same direction is unsafe to the community as a whole,” Chirico stated. “Part of the solution is to change St. Paul Avenue back to the way it was [prior to April 2006]. Since people can’t follow proper driving rules, speed humps should also be added on St. Paul Avenue all the way to Westchester Avenue.”

Residents of St. Paul Avenue, though in the minority at the February 23 hearing, vigorously opposed changing back the direction of the street to runtoward Westchester Avenue for both blocks. Many said a change back would result in an increase in auto accidents, and reduce pedestrian safety.

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