First new traffic light in 35 years approved for City Island

This intersection, at City Island Avenue and Bowne Street, is slated to see a new traffic signal by 2020.
Schneps Media / Patrick Rocchio

The NYC Department of Transportation has approved a new traffic signal at the corner of Bowne Street and City Island Avenue.

The signal should be installed by 2020, according to NYC Department of Transportation, in time for the opening of a new catering facility on the eastern end of Bowne Street.

The street is frequently used to access the large restaurant situated at the corner. Sometimes the exiting cars are forced to dangerously cross oncoming traffic to make left turns.

Joanne Valletta, who suggested the traffic control for the location in 2017, said that the amount of cars exiting the existing restaurant, Seafood City, along with other traffic, necessitated the new signal.

“We have had increased traffic [and] we have had a lot of close calls…I myself have had close calls at the intersection,” said Valletta, a member of the newly formed civic group City Island Rising and life-long resident of the island.

There has been an increase in traffic over her lifetime because there are more restaurants and residents on the island now, she said.

She noted that some of her neighbors expressed concern that the additional traffic light will slow down traffic even further during busy summer and holiday weekends, when many visitors come to marinas and restaurants.

She believes that with the installation of the new traffic light only months away, this may be a good time to reexamine the necessity of the Cross Street light.

“That light was originally put in place when there was St. Mary’s School nearby,” she said of the now shuttered parochial school.

“We could look into making it a blinking yellow light if people are concerned the new light will slow down traffic.”

She added she feels the benefit of the new traffic light will trump everything else.

“I would always go with caution,” said Valletta, adding that the help of local activist John Doyle, who took her idea and brought it to elected officials and the appropriate city agencies, made all of the difference.

She said she is sure that when the new catering facility opens, there will be an increase in both vehicles and motorists at the intersection.

“It will be the first new traffic light on City Island in at least 35 years,” said Doyle. “This intersection is so problematic.”

He put in his first 311 request for the new traffic signal at the location in February 2017.

A DOT spokes personstated: “DOT studied this location and found this intersection feasible for a traffic signal.”

The DOT letter states that “installation will be performed by contract and the work is tentatively scheduled to be completed by January 31, 2020.”

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 260–4597. E-mail him at procchio@schnepsmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.
City Island Avenue and Bowne Street, which can be a hub of tourist activity in the summer, is slated to receive a new traffic light.
Schneps Media / Patrick Rocchio

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