St. Paul Ave traffic direction may be reversed

It looked like a done deal, but the St. Paul Avenue reversal will have to be voted on again by Community Board 10.

The city Department of Transportation has made a recommendation calling for the reversal of the direction of traffic on St. Paul Avenue between East 196th Street and Pelham Parkway South. DOT is also requesting that Community Board 10 vote again on the matter, approving the re-reversal of the street, which ran southbound prior to a change in direction on April 24, 2006.

Community Board 10’s Municipal Services Committee held a public hearing on the direction of the street in February, with over 50 people testifying both for and against the change. After the full board voted to approve the new direction in March, DOT commissioned a traffic study, which was recently completed.

“We received notification that DOT is recommending reversal of St. Paul Avenue, but that it is not going to happen until we vote on it again,” said Community Board 10 district manager Kenneth Kearns. “The next meeting of Municipal Services Committee is on November 9. Whatever they decide in committee will then be conveyed to the full board, which will have to vote on it.”

The February hearing included testimony from the community who wanted the street reversed, as well as those who wanted the street to remain in its current pattern to ensure pedestrian safety. Those attending the earlier hearing were split on the change.

According to a DOT spokeswoman, the agency’s study found the conversion would enhance safety and traffic circulation in the area.

Anita Valenti, vice president of the Pelham Bay Taxpayers and Community Association, believes the reversal of St. Paul Avenue back to its direction prior to 2006, headed towards Westchester Avenue for two full blocks, is needed. She said this is because of trafic backups she said have occurred when tandem buses and other vehicles break down or become involved in accidents on Burr Avenue, on their way to Pelham Bay Station.

“It has been a long fight with St. Paul Avenue,” Valenti said. “We have been very patient. It has been a thorn in the side of the entire Pelham Bay community. The current direction of the street caused all kinds of disruptions. If anything happened on Burr Avenue we had a traffic stand-still, and fire trucks and ambulances that were onSt. Paul Avenue had to back out. Especially with Aging in America’s new facility coming to Pelham Parkway South, the direction of St. Paul Avenue has got to be reversed.”

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