New signs warning motorists of deer installed in Pelham Bay Park

Three new deer crossing signs, like this one at Bartow Circle, were installed in Pelham Bay Park recently.
Community News Group / Patrick Rocchio

Motorists travelling through Pelham Bay Park are now witnessing new signs alerting them to watch for deer.

Among a number of sign enhancements in the park, the NYC Department of Transportation installed three deer crossing signs after hearing the concerns of local residents and elected officials.

The signs have long been on the City Island Civic Association’s agenda, with its members reporting numerous deer-related incidents over the years to government agencies and insurance companies, said John Doyle, CICA board member.

A DOT spokeswoman stated that the deer crossing signs were installed after the agency made the determination that they were needed based on NYPD crash data.

Councilman James Vacca had been able to get a variable message sign warning of deer crossings installed temporarily in the park for several weeks at the end of 2015.

He said he made a request to DOT that permanent signs be installed in the park while alerting officials at the agency of several accidents involving deer and motorists.

“(The signs) are at three locations around Shore Road and Bartow Circle,” said Vacca. “I think they serve as a good warning to people that there can be deer in the Bronx.”

The councilman said that some motorists may not expect to see deer in the borough given its urban setting. Vacca thanked DOT for listening to his and the local community’s concerns.

The signs are especially needed along Shore Road, said the councilman, because of the swerving nature of the roadway and a nearby wildlife refuge.

There are also ongoing infrastructure issues along part of the road, according to local activists, making driving on Shore Road more dangerous.

The signs have been installed on Shore Road at the county line, eastbound on Shore Road between City Island Road and Bartow Circle and next to the circle itself.

The DOT installed signs after being facing a similar upswing in the deer population on Staten Island, where the agency responded with a similar action, stated Doyle.

“I think this is a case where persistence paid off,” said Doyle. “The civic has written countless letters on this for years, followed up on those letters with conversations with DOT officials and documented incidents with photos, videos and even insurance reports.”

Doyle believes that the growing body of evidence related to deer made it clear to DOT that warning motorists was necessary, he said.

In 2007, 2009 and 2010 Senator Jeff Klein wrote letters on behalf of the CICA about the deer issue in the park, said Doyle. The senator has been an advocate for better safety in the park in more recent years, said his spokeswoman.

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 260–4597. E-mail him at procchio@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.

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