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Pelham Bay needs a brake

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Some residents of Pelham Bay are determined to win speed controls for the eastbound Hutchinson River Parkway Service Road between Exit 3E and Continental Avenue. Vehicles often exit the Hutch and careen down the service road past Mayflower Avenue and E. 197th Street, Anita Valenti and Paul Hadshian contend.

Early in 2009, Senator Jeff Klein asked the city Department of Transportation to install an all-way stop sign on the service road at Mayflower Avenue. The DOT refused in April 2009; the intersection failed to meet its stop sign criteria, the DOT said. There is a stop sign on the service road at Continental Avenue.

In October, Klein asked DOT Bronx Commissioner Constance Moran to consider a speed hump on the service road between Mayflower Avenue and E. 197th Street or “slow down” signage at Exit 3E, before vehicles enter the residential neighborhood. A speed jump study is underway and is expected to be completed by February, the DOT said.

Vehicles leave the Hutch at Exit 3E to access Pelham Bay and Co-op City. Many speed down the service road and barrel past Mayflower Avenue and a triangle intersection where E. 197th Street splits, Valenti said. Vehicles sometimes reach 65 and 70 miles per hour, she added.

There have been only two reportable accidents on the service road at Mayflower Avenue and only one on the service road at E. 197th Street since 2004, the DOT said. There have been none at Continental Avenue and no fatalities at any of the three intersections.

But parked cars at the triangle intersection are often hit, Valenti said. During the summer, a vehicle crashed into a trailer parked on the service road near the Our Lady of Mercy Florence D’Urso Pavilion parking lot.

On Wednesday, December 2 at around 11:30 a.m., a vehicle attempted to turn right onto Mayflower Avenue but instead skidded onto the service road sidewalk, where it knocked down a “no parking” side, Valenti said. Joggers, children and seniors often use the service road sidewalk to exercise and were lucky to miss the accident, she added. Valenti glimpsed a gray vehicle but it sped away, she said. The “no parking” sign was re-installed by Saturday, December 5, she added.

“[Vehicles] come off the Hutch and there’s nothing to stop them or slow them down,” Valenti said. “This guy did a 180 [degrees] and ended up on the sidewalk.”

Hadshian has had two pickup trucks demolished, he said. Cars that belonged to his daughter, grandson and ex-wife met the same fate. When Hadshian sees vehicles double-parked on E. 197th Street, he suggests that they be moved.

“[The DOT] has to put stop signs or speed [humps] on the service road,” Hadshian said. “I think speed [humps] would be a big help.”

If Moran agrees to install a speed hump, the DOT should also install new signs, Hadshian added. He wouldn’t want to see a speed hump become a speed jump. Pelham Bay has been fortunate to lose only parked vehicles and not neighbors, Klein said.

“Month after month, concerned constituents call my office [about Exit 3E],” the senator said. “I am committed to making sure [the DOT] addresses this…serious safety matter and I am going to continue pushing…to find a permanent solution.”

Reach reporter Daniel Beekman at 718 742-3383 or dbeekman@cnglocal.com

Updated 5:26 pm, October 21, 2011
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