Safety upgrades set for northern Baychester Ave.

Safety upgrades set for northern Baychester Ave.
Arthur Cusano

The northern stretch of the Baychester Avenue and part of East 241st Street will receive a makeover this summer thanks to the NYC Department Of Transportation as part of the city’s Vision Zero safety program.

Community Board 12 voted at its Thursday, April 27 meeting to approve road safety improvements from East 241st Street starting at Carpenter Avenue in the north to the corner of Baychester Avenue and East 233rd Street to the south.

The project comes on the heels of a similar DOT project completed last year on Baychester Avenue from Boston Road to East 233rd Street, said CB 12 district manager George Torres.

That project added pedestrian islands, security cameras and mid-block crossings and a redesign of the busy intersection at East 233rd Street and Grenada Place.

“We had been receiving complaints from people who live in that neighborhood about speeding vehicles because Baychester Avenue serves as a throughroad to the highway,” Torres said. “This is an extension of that project.”

The targeted area is primarily a residential corridor with a few retail stores and restaurants, and is also used by the Bx16, BxM11 and Bx39 bus routes.

CB 12 Transportation and Capital Projects Committee chair John Isaac said the project will begin in the summer, likely after the half dozen schools in the area finished for the year.

“We have a lot of schools there and kids in the neighborhood, so we’re trying to make the area safer and the traffic slower,” he said. “People have been killed on Baychester Avenue. Their families have been advocating for a slow zone.”

Isaac said the road serves as a gateway from the northeast Bronx to Westchester County towns like Mount Vernon, and locals tend to speed through the area before getting on the Bronx River Parkway.

The problem was so bad that when pedestrian islands were installed last year motorists slammed into them for months, he said.

“It’s that bad, and it’s the people in the neighborhood that are speeding and causing these problems,” Isaac said.

Baychester Avenue was identified as a priority corridor in the Bronx by the DOT, with approximately eight pedestrians killed or severely injured per mile.

There have been four pedestrian fatalities and 34 severe injuries or deaths overall since 2009 on the 1.3 mile long corridor, 22 involving motorists, according to DOT statistics.

Proposed changes include creating a nine-foot wide parking lane with a five-foot wide bike lane alongside the 11-foot wide vehicle travel lane on both sides of the road, which will be separated by a painted center median with several pedestrian islands and left turn lanes at some intersections.

Sidewalk widths will not be altered on either side of the road, but sidewalks will be extended along the west side of Baychester Avenue south of East 241st Street, where there are currently no sidewalks.

Safety islands are planned at Carpenter Avenue and East 241st Street, Baychester Avenue and East 241st Street, Pitman Avenue and Baychester Avenue and Edenwald Avenue and Baychester Avenue.

Left turns will be banned at those intersections.

Reach Reporter Arthur Cusano at (718) 742–4584. E-mail him at Follow him on Twitter @arthurcusano.