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Traffic changes for White Plains Road

Bronx Times
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A drive along White Plains Road is about to get more organized.

The city plans to redesign a stretch of the borough’s longest thoroughfare between Soundview and Van Nest, adding left-turn lanes, parking lanes and painting pedestrian crosswalks on the busy road.

The plan converts the road from Birchall Avenue to the Cross Bronx Expressway, and from Bruckner Expressway south to Soundview Avenue from the existing four-lane street into a three-lane roadway. In each direction, motorists will have one 11-foot driving lane, another 14-foot lane on the right side solely for parking, and a 10-foot lane for making left turns.

Between the Cross Bronx and Bruckner expressways, however, the changes are more subdued. That stretch will remain a four-lane street, but DOT is installing new high-visibility crosswalks.

There are no new bike lanes in DOT’s plan.

City’s danger list

The overhaul comes after eight people were killed by traffic on the dicey road between Soundview and Birchall avenues from 2007-2014. Four people were killed there just in the last four years, according to city data.

The street averaged 230 injuries per year over that same time period, according to the DOT—grisly statistics that earned it priority status as a “High Crash Corridor” in Mayor de Blasio’s “Vision Zero” plan to lower traffic fatalities.

Locals are welcoming the changes, which are expected by this fall.

Board: we’re on board!

Both of the community boards affected by the changes sent the DOT their resounding approval — with certain conditions.

“It will absolutely make the strip safer,” said William Rivera, the newly elected chairman of Community Board 9 in Soundview.

His board approved DOT’s plan, but requested that the city install parking meters on White Plains Road between Story and Lafayette avenues.

Community Board 11 — which represents the slice of White Plains Road running through Van Nest — also signed off on the plans in a unanimous ‘yay’ vote.

The intersection of White Plains Road and Morris Park Avenue is one of the city’s top 20 most dangerous streets for pedestrians, according to the DOT.

But that board’s approval was contingent on the DOT promising to ban parking on the White Plains Road bridge between Baker and E. Tremont avenues.

Local businesses complained to the board that construction trucks would not be able to get their equipment through if vehicles are allowed to park on the bridge, said CB 11 transit chair Vinny Prezioso.

Some of the gripes came from a local branch of Con Ed on nearby Bronxdale Avenue, Prezioso added.

The DOT says the changes could be installed as soon as September.

Reach Reporter Ben Kochman at (718) 742–3394. E-mail him at bkochman@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @benkochman.
Updated 4:57 pm, July 9, 2018
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