Members of a school community are rallying together to call for traffic calming at an intersection children use to get to and from school.
Parents and community leaders at P.S. 96 in Bronx Park East called on the city to install all-way stop signs or a traffic light at the intersection of Barker and Waring avenues in a rally held on Friday, November 2.
At times, motorists are blowing through the intersection, and appeals to the NYC Department of Transportation for traffic calming measures have fallen on deaf ears, they said.
Councilman Ritchie Torres, who took a lead role in successful advocacy for a stop light nearby at Bronx Park East and Waring Avenue, joined with Assemblywoman Nathalia Fernandez and the community in rallying for greater pedestrian safety at the intersection.
Torres said that his office has sent requests for all-way stop signs and other traffic improvements at Barker and Waring avenues, only to see them rejected in the past.
“The community has been pleading for traffic safety improvements for years, and for years the DOT has rejected those pleas,” said Torres, adding that he has conducted tours of the intersection and written letters as well, to little avail.
The councilman said that he believes that DOT is a public safety agency that exists to prevent fatalities and injuries on the road, just as the FDNY exists to prevent fires and the NYPD exists to keep people safe.
In addition to his office, the Bronx Park East Community Association has also called on DOT for greater safety measures at the intersection, he said.
Torres said that there have been several incidents at the intersection in 2018.
“Those incidents could have been prevented by something as simple as a stop sign,” said Torres.
Fernandez said that along with Torres’ office she has petitioned the DOT to revisit their denials for added safety measures.
“The streets around P.S. 96 have been especially dangerous,” said Fernandez, adding, “They need to listen to the concerns of parents and community members.”
She said she hopes DOT would make a more positive decision based on the needs of the community.
P.S. 96 parent Kevin Wells said that motorists often race down the street trying to make lights at Olinville Avenue and Bronx Park East. The problematic intersection, adjacent to the school’s playground, is the only one on Waring Avenue between those intersections.
“Essentially, the motorists are speeding past the school so they don’t catch either red lights,” said Wells.
Wells said that he believes that this leaves the children vulnerable to a traffic accident.
A DOT spokeswoman stated that the agency conducted a traffic signal study in 2017, that factored in crash data, speed, and vehicle and pedestrian volumes. It determined that the location did not meet nationally recognized traffic safety engineering standards for installation of a traffic control.
“DOT values community input and as a direct response to Council Member Torres’ request, DOT is re-evaluating this location to determine the feasibility for installation of a traffic control,” the spokeswoman stated.