DOT proposes traffic changes to section of Third Avenue in Belmont

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The New York City Department of Transportation is proposing traffic changes and road dieting for one of the west Bronx’s more populated corridors, Third Avenue, from E. Tremont Avenue to E. 189th Street in Belmont.

Members of the DOT presented their proposal to the transportation committee of Community Board 6 last week, explaining that there are 20 schools within walking distance of the statistically treacherous stretch.

From 2013 to 2017, that corridor, which lays adjacent to both the dining district of Arthur Avenue and Saint Barnabas Hospital has seen 222 total injuries, 79 inflicted on pedestrians along with one fatality and 14 severe injuries, according to the DOT.

The DOT proposed reducing Third Avenue’s lanes while also adding in a left turning bay at many intersections that are currently without one as well as installing pedestrian refuge islands in the street’s median.

The left-turn bay, the agency said, is needed because 37 percent of those 222 collisions were result of left turns and rear end crashes.

Citing two similar projects in the Bronx at Allerton Avenue and Southern Boulevard, the DOT believes these new implementations would reduce crashes with injuries. Both Allerton Avenue and Southern Boulevard saw a 20 percent of more reduction in those kind of collisions.

The department also pitched adding in curb extensions on uneven streets in efforts to make pedestrians cross a shorter distance and disallow vehicles to make quick, sharp turns onto Third Avenue’s side streets.

Since bus traffic was also reported as an issue for the area, the DOT also proposed adding queue jump signals to give buses a head start before prior traffic to alleviate congestion.

This plan would also begin daylighting certain intersections in efforts to improve both driver and pedestrian visibility, the DOT estimates removing around 11 parking spaces to do so.

Locally, many schools expressed approval of the proposed traffic changes. I.S. 254, located nearby at 2452 Washington Ave., even wrote a letter of support to the DOT in regards to the project as three other schools did the same.

In a separate but related project by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, there is another concept to add a new, northbound bus stop at Washington Avenue, which would replace existing ones at E. 187 and E. 188 Streets.

This plan will also remove a southbound stop at E. 188 Street stop due to close proximity to Fordham Plaza and E. 187 Street.

No major objections were aired by the transportation committee of CB 6 immediately following the proposal.

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