One of the most dangerous intersections in the Bronx will soon be getting a much needed makeover.
The corner of Bartow and Baychester avenues has long been considered an unsafe location in the borough, ranking in the 99th percentile for pedestrian crashes in the Bronx.
For over a decade, local elected officials and Community Board 10 have been seeking a way to improve the area by making it safer for pedestrians and cars. On Tuesday, September 13, the city Department of Transportation presented a full improvement project for the intersection before CB 10’s municipal services committee.
DOT Borough Commissioner Connie Moran and representatives discussed the new project, which was voted unanimously in favor of by the entire board on Thursday, September 15.
“This project has been considered for as long as I can remember. It was certainly in the works before I became district manager,” said Ken Kearns, who became CB 10 district manager six years ago. “The community board has been advocating this for a very long time and we are in full support of it. It’s not a secret how dangerous the intersection is.”
The proposal details include the creation of a bus lane on the southbound side of Baychester Avenue, installation of pedestrian fencing on the Baychester Avenue median, the addition of planters, curbs and fencing on unused road space, high visibility crosswalks at the entrances to the Bay Plaza Mall, crosswalks and stop signs at mall entrances and exits, channelization on Baychester Avenue to narrow moving lanes, the shaving of the existing median on Baychester Avenue to accommodate new dual left turns, addition of two left turn lanes going northbound on Baychester Avenue approaching Bartow Avenue to reduce vehicle congestion, and a pedestrian island with trees on Baychester Avenue in the existing turn bay.
According to DOT, the need for changes in the intersection comes as a result of long crossing distances, multiple pedestrian and vehicle conflict points, heavy vehicular turn volumes, and unsafe midblock crossings.
Between 2005 and 2009, the intersection has averaged 2.8 pedestrian injuries, 0.2 bicyclist injuries, and 22.4 motor vehicle occupant injuries. Although there were no fatalities over the five year span, there were 127 total injuries, making Bartow and Baychester avenues one of the most dangerous in New York City.
“We were finally notified by DOT about a month ago that a final blueprint for these improvements had been developed,” Kearns said. “We constantly get calls in the board office with complaints about the intersection and we knew the only solution to this was to reengineer the entire area. We look forward to its completion.”
DOT can begin construction as soon as October, however, a completion date has not yet been determined.