Morris Park, Wallace avenues get traffic light

City DOT has approved a traffic light for the corner of Morris Park Avenue and Wallace Avenue.
Morris park Avenue near Rhinelander Avenue. (File)

A street crossing that neighbors say a traffic light is badly needed for pedestrians will be getting one soon.

The intersection of Morris Park and Wallace avenues, called “extremely dangerous” by a local activist, will soon have a new traffic light installed in a bid to increase pedestrian safety.

Community activist Katherine Torres said that she did not feel comfortable crossing the intersection with a stroller, or having her elderly parents cross the street to attend church services or go shopping.

“We’ve never had a crosswalk there,” said Torres, adding “It is just extremely dangerous.”

She said she has seen a number of close calls with pedestrians at the intersection.

In one incident she said she saw two cars swerve into oncoming lanes of traffic to avoid hitting an elderly woman who was carrying shopping bags across the street, barely missing her, said Torres.

Torres also got involved because she anticipates that a new charter school and some new businesses nearby may generate more pedestrian traffic at the intersection.

“They roll the dice,” said Torres of pedestrians, adding that the new light will also make for safer travelling for motorists who want to continue on Wallace Avenue past Morris Park Avenue.

Councilman James Vacca followed the case for Torres after she contacted him, providing necessary advocacy and information to make the new light a reality.

Torres also reached out to DOT directly, she said.

The councilman said that speeding along Morris Park Avenue has been an issue for as long as he can remember, and he’s advocated for a number of changes, including an earlier effort to get a light at Barnes and Morris Park avenues.

“Katherine Torres reached out to me and I really give her a lot of credit: she lobbied very hard,” said the councilman, adding that wherever he goes in district he hears about the need to slow down thoroughfare traffic.

The councilman said that there are a variety of solutions that can help in individual cases, including speed humps where appropriate.

A DOT spokeswoman stated that the light at Morris Park and Wallace avenues was approved in February and is slated for installation by Friday, June 30.

Another traffic light was approved for Rhinelander and Tomlinson avenues in January and should be installed by May, stated the spokeswoman.

Tony Signorile, Morris Park Community Association president, said that in addition to these two locations, Bronxdale Avenue is also in need of speed humps or other traffic calming measures.

The MPCA president cited frequent speeding around a curve on Bronxdale and Rhinelander avenues and a fatal accident in August 2016 at Bronxdale and Wallace avenues as proof that greater traffic calming was needed on the roadway.

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 260–4597. E-mail him at procchio@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.
A new traffic light has been approved for Rhinelander Avenue and Tomlinson Avenue.
Community News Group / Patrick Rocchio

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