A much needed traffic light and crosswalk installation is finally taking place on Pelham Parkway.
According to the NYC Department Of Transportion, traffic lights and crosswalks are planned for previously unofficial crossings on Pelham Parkway North and South to improve safety for pedestrians.
The installation, which was approved by DOT last November, had been delayed for months until recently, when traffic lights were installed on the westbound side of the parkway between Pearsall and Throop avenues and the eastbound side near Narragansett Avenue.
Along with the traffic lights, which have not been activated yet, a crosswalk, pedestrian ramps, elimination of a guardrail and other secondary safety enhancements are scheduled for implementation in the next weeks, according to the DOT.
The crosswalks will connect to a paved path in the grassy median, which is currently separated by a barrier – installed during the parkway’s reconstruction two years ago.
Currently, pedestrians cannot reach the southern side of the parkway service road in this area without climbing over a wooden guardrail.
The impovements will also help bus passengers who use the eastbound Bx12 stop on Pelham Parkway South near Narragansett Avenue.
“It is a good thing that this issue is finally being tackled,” said John Fratta, administrative manager for Community Board 11. “Making a crosswalk illegal isn’t going to stop pedestrians from crossing the street and doesn’t solve the problem. The installation of a light and crosswalk is a solution that will result in pedestrians being able to cross safely, but the benefit will be even better if the guard rail is cut for easier access.”
“On a road with a 35 MPH speed limit, but where traffic often travels well over 50, it will be safe to cross the parkway without risking my life,” said Jeffrey Silverberg, a Pelham Parkway resident.
Although residents are happy with the new additions on the parkway, they are still frustrated that an issue as important as this one took so long to be corrected.
“We were expecting this installation in March after it was approved last November – we are now in August and this long awaited project is finally being completed,” said resident Frank Vignali. “I am happy that the lights and the crosswalks are being installed, even though the process took way too long.”
Vignali also mentioned that there are several other unofficial crosswalk points on the parkway that need to connect with the paths in the park area, such as Pelham Parkway South near Hone Avenue.
“This is an aggravating scenario because there are paths, designed by the Parks Department, in between the parkway that purposelessly lead to nowhere and create the illusion to pedestrians that they can walk on these paths and eventually cross the parkway safely, which is far from the case. These paths must correspond to traffic lights and crosswalks and if not, the Parks Department must remove these paths entirely to avoid confusion in the future before somebody gets seriously hurt.”
DOT said that the reason for the delay on the installation was due to harsh weather conditions that took place this past winter.