St. Paul Avenue to turn back around

Turn it back!

Community Board 10 voted to the reverse traffic flow of one block of St. Paul Avenue after the direction became a source of major controversy.

The lopsided vote came after CB 10’s municipal services committee unanimously recommended the re-reversal of the street to the full board on Thursday, November 18. CB 10 had already voted in March to have St. Paul Avenue between East 196th Street and Pelham Parkway South reversed from the northbound direction it has had since 2006, to the southbound direction it had for decades prior to the switch.

The city Department of Transportation conducted a traffic study recently which found the reversal of direction on the block is in the best interests of traffic flow. DOT requested that CB 10 vote again on the measure before applying the change. In addition to voting on the resolution, which will also see the DOT install a speed hump on the block, CB 10 also voted in favor of a second resolution calling for the DOT study of the installation of a second speed hump on St. Paul Avenue between East 196th Street and Westchester Avenue.

“It is certainly our hope that these measures would go far enough to protect the safety of pedestrians on St. Paul Avenue,” said community board 10 district manager Kenneth Kearns. “DOT has highly qualified engineers who went out and looked at the site and made recommendations, and then we made some recommendations of our own. We are confident that the recommendations that both CB 10 and DOT made will enhance pedestrian safety on St. Paul Avenue.”

When the street’s direction was reversed on April 24, 2006 to curb heavy traffic volume from Pelham Parkway South to I-95 North, a dispute arose because many in the Pelham Bay community said they did not have an adequate chance to weigh in on the matter.

“It has been a long and unnecessary battle,” said Anita Valenti, vice-president of the Pelham Bay Taxpayers and Community Association. “This reversal would not have been possible without the support of our members, who came to our meeting every month and asked ‘what about St. Paul Avenue?” Many people have gotten tired of hearing about this, but we are the ones who have to live with it everyday.”

Valenti said that she believes that had the residents of St. Paul Avenue asked for a speed hump five years ago, they likely would have gotten one because there was a good deal of traffic exiting the parkway and heading down their street. Nevertheless, she said she feels that the traffic patterns should have never been changed, because she said it only caused traffic jams on surrounding blocks when accidents or traffic blocked Burr Avenue.

Senator Jeff Klein, who had been monitoring the situation, said that he hopes that the matter is now resolved.

“I am pleased with Community Board 10’s decision regarding traffic direction on St. Paul Avenue,” Klein said. “It is my hope that a quick resolution can now take place and we can put the matter behind us.”

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