New traffic light headed for Parkchester’s Hugh Grant Circle

Subway riders exiting the Parchester station could find some safety relief from dangerous traffic shortly.

Thanks to a local good citizen and local City Councilwoman Annabel Palma, the city said it plans to install a crosswalk and traffic light there.

Ever since the new Parkchester train station on the No. 6 line reopened after renovations, community activist Mili Bonilla of Castle Hill noticed a potential problem as riders exited on a southwest side of the station.

They were heading for one of the two heavily utilized stops on the Q-24/Bx-4 buses in Hugh Grant Circle, just across the street from the station, with no crosswalk to help make the walk safe.

On a recent day, pedestrians leaving the station were seen darting in and out of traffic as they tried to reach the other side of the street where the eastbound lane of Westchester Avenue meets the circle, crossing without a crosswalk or traffic light.

That could soon change, however. After Bonilla reached out local Councilwoman Annabel Palma’s office, Palma worked with the city Department of Transportation to get a traffic study done for the location. The study recommended the installation of a light and a crosswalk.

“Since Mayor de Blasio unveiled ‘Vision Zero,’ there’s been a groundswell of support for smarter, pedestrian-oriented transportation policy,” said Palma. “The recent spate of traffic deaths has made the need for such a policy more pressing than ever.

“But the only way that we’re really going to make New York City streets safer is through an accessible and responsive city government that listens and responds to its community members. I’m grateful that was the case here in Parkchester.”

According to Bonilla, it is the natural flow of pedestrian traffic coming out of the train station and reaching the street as they head for the bus stop, located in front of a parking lot for a Duane Reade pharmacy.

The issue came to the fore after the exits were reconfigured during the renovation, she said.

“It is a natural flow to leave the subway and then walk across the street to catch the Q24 and Bx4 buses, but because there is no crosswalk at this location, I was looking at it and thinking people are going to get hurt,” said Bonilla.

“You have cars coming around the corner in the circle who may not see the people crossing, and there is only a stop sign at the corner.”

Bonilla, a well-known community activist and organizer who was one of the founding members of the influential south Bronx organization Mothers on the Move, added that the renovation of the station was much appreciated.

But she felt that a traffic plan should have been in place to handle pedestrian flow from the stations exits. She brought the matter up to Palma at a recent event in Parkchester, and an aide for the councilwoman visited the site and spoke with Bonilla before the DOT traffic study.

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 742–3393. E-mail him at procchio@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.

More from Around NYC

>