Speeders: Give us a brake!

Speeders: Give us a brake!
Photo by Alex Belisle

The Bronx Park East Community Association (BPECA) wants a brake from speeders.

The civic group —covering Pelham Parkway North, Allerton and Bronxdale—has joined Community Board 11 in requesting the city Department of Transportation create “Slow Zones” in their community.

The program uses speed bumps, signage, and narrowed lanes to slow down traffic in targeted areas.

The city also reduces the speed limit in the zones from 30 to 20 mph.

BPECA is requesting the slow zone between Pelham Parkway North and Allerton Avenue, with an eastern boundary of White Plain Road and a western boundary of Bronx Park East.

“Many streets in the BPECA’s area have become speedways for reckless, irresponsible motorists leading to numerous car accidents on Bronx Park East, Thwaites Place, Mace Avenue and Olinville Avenue,” BPECA chairman Raphael Schweizer said.

“Additionally,” he added, “the condition of many intersections and roadways has made the area even more dangerous for the children that attend PS 96 and the elderly that utilize the social programming and therapeutic activities of Beth Abraham.”

According to the latest NYPD’s motor vehicle accident report for April, there were 152 pedestrian injuries and two fatalities in the borough since January.

In the 49th Precinct, which covers BPECA’s area, six pedestrians were injured, while seven more were hurt in the neighboring 45th Precinct.

Northeast Bronx resident Angela Roker was run down by a speeding SUV near Olinville Avenue two years ago, suffering sustained neck and back injuries, which might have been avoided had there been a slow zone in the neighborhood.

“It changed my life,” Roker said. “It’s difficult for me to get around now. Cars come racing through here all day long. There are a lot of elderly and disabled people that live around here. I grew up in this area and I was never afraid to cross the street, like I am now.”

Community Board 11 submitted an application last month for four Slow Zones within the Pelham Gardens and Pelham Parkway neighborhood.

The areas were targeted after complaints about drivers who ignore the speed limits and stop signs, said Northeast Bronx Association president and CB 11 member Vinny Prezioso.

“In Pelham Gardens, it’s almost a 100 percent residential neighborhood,” Prezioso said. “We have a lot of schools and nursing homes around here, and we are getting a lot of complaints of cars zooming through these streets.”

He said drivers “are using these side streets to come down so they can avoid lights along Pelham Parkway.”

The Slow Zone program was created by the DOT in 2011 to increase pedestrian safety in residential areas.

Each zone is about five square city blocks.

More than 100 applications were submitted citywide in 2012 and 14 were approved.

To date, there are eight completed slow zones citywide, with five of them in the Bronx.

“Neighborhood streets aren’t shortcuts for drivers in a hurry,” DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan said in a statement. “They’re where New Yorkers live. Partnering with communities across the city, we’re customizing safer residential streets, where changes as simple as lowering speed limits and installing signs and speed bumps can make a big difference.”

Kirsten Sanchez can be reach via e-mail at ksanchez@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3394

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