Locals see the light at Middletown Road

Locals see the light at Middletown Road
Pelham Bay neighbor Prella Sinishtaj (l) shares a victory moment with Councilman Jimmy Vacca and Johnny Sukahram as they celebrate a new traffic light installed at the corner of Mayflower Avenue and Middletown Road.
Photo courtesy of Councilman Jimmy Vacca’s office

Let there be light!

A traffic study coupled with an outcry of concern has finally brought a much-needed traffic signal to a Pelham Bay intersection.

Until recently, crossing the corner of Middletown Road and Mayflower Avenue was a potential gamble.

Without a clear line of sight from both sides of Middletown, locals often took their chances, dodging cars speeding eastbound.

Children looked twice. The elderly hightailed it beyond their lumbering pace.

But the street was also congested, with gridlock becoming the norm along the residential street.

“It was something that was needed,” said longtime merchant Estrella Negron of Embroidery Zone, whose shop sits on the crash-prone corner. “There were so many accidents.”

The fourteen-block stretch, divided by the Bruckner Expressway, had experienced several smashups in the past, mainly on Crosby Avenue, where a traffic light was eventually installed in 2005.

But resident Ann Boller of Pelham Bay wanted one at Mayflower Avenue, made up of two-story homes just at the tip of a small business area.

“I’ve been in Pelham Bay for ten years, I was always saying we need a light,” said Boller. “Traffic on Middletown was relentless.”
She and members of the Mayflower Block Association went door-to-door, petitioning their fellow neighbors to get a signal light hooked up.

Signatures were sent to Councilman Jimmy Vacca, chair of the council transportation committee. He put in an official request to the city Department of Transportation to conduct a traffic study.

A team convened at the site, examining whether there was a need. By May, DOT concluded a traffic light was needed.

Getting the light came quick. Work finished two weeks ahead of schedule.

“DOT has made Middletown Road much safer for drivers and pedestrians,” said Vacca.

With the traffic light on, residents can now rely on the blinking red hand and the solid white figure to get to the other side.

Reach reporter David Cruz at 718-742-3383 or dcruz@cnglocal.com.com.

David Cruz can be reach via e-mail at DCruz@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3383

More from Around NYC