The intersection of East Tremont Avenue at Silver and Overing streets recently received a makeover, but the improvements have caused some confusion for drivers.
Where there was previously a wide-open intersection that was hazardous to drivers and pedestrians, there are now numerous dividers breaking up the intersection and directing traffic flow.
Vehicles travelling south on Silver Street, can no longer make a left turn on to Tremont Avenue.
The changes, completed in November, came after local merchants advocated for improvements to the confusing location.
One of those merchants was Juan Clark of Clark & Sons Signs. His shop has sat at the corner of Overing Street and Tremont Avenue for the past 14 years, and he said he used to see four or five accidents in front of his shop annually, and he also felt unsafe crossing the street.
“I’d been trying to get this intersection fixed for a long time,” said Clarke. “It was treacherous.”
Those accidents took a particularly scary turn when in July 2012, a car drove through the front of his shop during the night.
Since the barriers went up and the traffic calming measures were implemented, Clarke said he no longer hears the sound of screeching tires like he often did before.
“From what I’ve seen, it’s working,” said Clarke. “It’s 100 percent for the better.”
For others, the changes at the intersection is taking some getting used to.
A few merchants are frustrated that you can no longer turn left on Tremont Avenue from Silver, said Lisa Sorin of the Westchester Square Business Improvement District.
“It’s a matter of who you speak to,” she said.
The concern has been raised that the changes make businesses on the two blocks east of the intersection, before Williamsbridge Road, less accessible.
There is currently a sign at Williamsbridge Road and Silver Street instructing drivers that there is no left turn from Silver, but Sorin said there needs to be more signage until people adjust to the new traffic pattern.
The BID will continue to work with the Department of Transportation to get the additional signage, and will monitor the changes’ effect on business.
“Right now there’s not a major impact,” said Sorin. “It’s mostly inconvenience.”
The benefits of a safer intersection far outweigh the few challenges, said Sorin, and she has received positive feedback since the construction was completed.
Shoppers who would get off the bus in the heart of The Square can now get off further up Tremont—closer to their shops—because they feel safe crossing the street.
The new design of the intersection minimizes the potential for accidents for both drivers and pedestrians.
“Overall, it’s a huge positive for The Square,” said Sorin.