City Island traffic problem prompts petition drive

The split in the circle that leads to City Island separated by cement borders to prevent vehicles from cutting into the lane at the buffer zone.
Community News Group/Sarah Valenzuela

An online petition calling for more police presence at a traffic circle leading to City Island has gained much attention since it was released.

The petition was a response to the decades-old traffic problem the area has faced as the traffic circle almost resembles a parking lot from May to September because of the increased number of visitors to the island.

“It’s a community and a safety issue,” said City Islander and creator of the petition, Dan Treiber, of the traffic problem.

Part of the issue with the traffic circle is how it forces cars trying to get onto the island, to merge from three lanes into one.

The congestion slows down cars as they approach the traffic circle.

“The traffic is bad for business,” continued Treiber, who also owns Dan’s Parent’s House, a vintage store on City Island. “If people can’t get to the businesses here, stores and restaurants suffer.”

Treiber initially created the petition on the website Change.org on Monday, June 18.

The online document started gaining traction after it was posted to Facebook on Thursday, June 21 and less than one week after that, the petition had over 300 signatures and counting.

The 45th Precinct regulates traffic at the circle and on City Island during the weekends due to the heavy traffic to and from the area during the summer months and other big holidays, according to Sergeant Edward Lawyer from the 45th Precinct’s Traffic Department.

However, the uptick in warmer weather tourism usually starts earlier than steady traffic regulation does, according to Treiber and other City Islanders.

Sergeant Lawyer said his team is well aware of the island’s traffic and congestion issues.

“We are prepared,” said Lawyer of the concerns and explained the traffic issues were nothing they couldn’t handle.

Lawyer also confirmed that the island, as well as the rest of the precinct, would see additional police officers soon as a result of the new NCO program.

When Treiber approached the City Island Civic Association about his petition at their meeting on June 26, more than 50 people stood in support of his efforts with various others muttering about their frustration with the traffic problem.

“I’ve once seen traffic backed up all the way to the Bronx Victory Memorial (in Pelham Park),” said City Island resident, Teddy Monte. Monte also owns the Grindstone Equity Group office located at the start of City Island Avenue and said he sees the traffic building daily.

“You can easily be stuck in traffic for one hour when it’s really backed up,” Monte continued.

Another resident, John Mitchell, who commutes to and from Manhattan for work, said the traffic can sometimes be worse than the traffic he faces in Manhattan.

The petition will be sent to NYPD administration and the mayor’s office to provide the 45th Precinct with more resources to increase weekend police presence in May, June and September, in addition to more consistent police presence through July and August.

Treiber hopes to gather at least 500 signatures as a starting point, but will continue to reach out to others in the community to get involved, as well.

Reach Reporter Sarah Valenzuela at (718) 260-4584. E-mail her at svalenzuela@cnglocal.com.

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