DOT reverses traffic flow

“This is going to get ugly and it’s going to court.”

Tomlinson Avenue resident Vincent Lanza was furious on the morning of Monday, December 14, when he and neighbors gathered to witness a controversial street reversal.

On December 14, the city Department of Transportation reversed the flow of traffic on Tomlinson Avenue between Pelham Parkway and Lydig Avenue from north to south. The reversal followed a request from Community Board 11. The change should resolve traffic issues on the Pelham Parkway South service road, a bottleneck, CB11 determined. CB11 voted on and passed the reversal three times.

Tomlinson residents were appalled at the CB11 votes. They met with the Morris Park Community Association, elected officials and merchants to gain support. The residents, who held a protest on their block this past July, also submitted a petition with more than 180 signatures.

In October, the resident scheduled a meeting with the NYC DOT were assured by a DOT representative that no final decision on the reversal had been made, Lanza said. The DOT rep also assured the residents that they’d be alerted before any action was taken.

“It was a sneak attach this morning,” Lanza said. “We’re questioning the [DOT’s] integrity. We had a meeting with [DOT] Bronx Commissioner [Constance Moran] and she didn’t know what she was going to do but said that they would let us know. They didn’t even put any notices up.”

According to the DOT, it notified CB11 two weeks ago. Sources close to the issue claim that the DOT also phoned Lanza, although the Tomlinson resident denies that he received a call or voice message.

Tomlinson Avenue residents have already launched a fund to pay for an attorney. They want to investigate the reversal and fight the change.

“We have a lawyer and we’re filing an appeal to stop this and make them show cause,” Lanza said. “We want to see records. We want an investigation.”

There are already trucks speeding down Tomlinson Avenue, residents allege. Because the DOT failed to notify the block, many residents didn’t know to turn their parked cars around and were left vulnerable to parking tickets. CB11 requested a speed hump in conjunction with the reversal; the hump has been approved and should be installed within the next few weeks, the DOT said. Tomlinson Avenue residents plan to attend CB11’s general board meeting on Thursday, December 17.

“It’s about time the right thing was done to please all of the people that wanted it done, which is a majority of the neighborhood,” CB11 chair Dom Castore said.

Reach reporter Amanda Marinaccio at 718 742-3394 or amarinaccio@cnglocal.com

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