For several months speeding and drag racing have plagued Independence Avenue from West 232nd Street to West 239th Street. Now after residents and pols have complained, the DOT is finally listening.
The Department of Transportation recently announced its Automated Enforcement Unit completed a review at the request of Senator Alessandra Biaggi and is now surveying the area to determine if a mobile speed enforcement deployment is feasible on Independence Avenue from West 232nd Street to West 246th Street, which is within a quarter mile of a school. Mobile enforcement vehicles are implemented on a rotational basis to various schools citywide.
Biaggi told the Bronx Times drag-racing in the Northwest Bronx was brought to her attention by organizations, such as Community Boards 8 and 12 and the Riverdale Main Street Alliance. Additionally, many residents reported late-night speeding and disruptive noise near schools and homes.
“My office has been monitoring the situation and has served as a liaison between the community and the appropriate city agencies, particularly the NYC Department of Transportation, to address the situation and come up with solutions,” Biaggi said. “This is only the first step in finding a resolution, and I look forward to it moving forward.”
In September, Councilman Andrew Cohen, Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz and community members held a rally to discuss the ongoing problem.
There are supposed to be three speed humps on Independence Avenue in this area; however they were removed in July during road milling and have not been reinstalled by the DOT.
Obeying the speed limit is one of the issues politicians have brought up, but in 2013, they fought to have the area deemed a neighborhood slow zone with a 20 mph speed limit. Independence Avenue has two schools (P.S. 24 and M.S. /H.S. 141, Riverdale/Kingsbridge Academy), a library (Spuyten Duyvil Branch of NYPL), several religious institutions, Seton Park and Riverdale Playground between West 232nd Street and West 239th Street.
The assemblyman, who lives nearby and has hears the problem firsthand, understands this is becoming a citywide problem. Dinowitz noted that even if a speed camera was installed, it still may not deter what he assumes are out of state drivers from breaking the law. A camera ticket is just $50 and has no points.
He understands police manpower is thin now due to budget cuts, but he hopes they find a way to stop this illegal behavior.
“I know the cops can’t have someone at every corner,” he stated. “If we really want to end this the cops have to stop people.”
In October, Riverdale resident and CD 11 candidate Jessica Haller launched a petition requesting the DOT study Independence Avenue from 232nd to 246th streets, 246th Street from Fieldston Road to Independence Avenue, 237th Street from Henry Hudson Parkway to Hudson Manor Terrace and Riverdale Avenue from 259th Southbound to 252nd. So far, more than 600 people have signed.
While Haller appreciates that DOT is looking into the speeding, she stressed that a street redesign of those areas should take place. However, a DOT spokesperson noted at this time, there are no immediate plans for a street redesign.
“Good solutions could ameliorate several problems at once: A DOT review could reduce drag racing, improve street safety, and make the streets friendlier to alternative transportation modes, such as bicycles,” the petition states.