Community Board 10 scuttled a controversial plan, after intense community opposition, calling for narrowing the roadway on East Tremont Avenue in Waterbury-LaSalle.
Leaders in the business and residential communities, and parents at nearby P.S. 14, appealed to CB 10’s full board to oppose the plan that would have seen travel lanes reduced from 4 to 3 on East Tremont Avenue from roughly Waterbury Avenue to Bruckner Boulevard to promote pedestrian safety. One of the travel lanes would have been a designated turn lane.
The city Department of Transportation idea ran into fierce opposition from the Throggs Neck Merchants Association, which organized community opposition from the Pelham Bay Taxpayers, Pelham Bay Merchants, Throggs Neck Home Owners Association and the Waterbury LaSalle Community Association, which showed up in masse at the CB 10 meeting on Thursday, May 21.
The suggested changes was part of the Vision Zero initiative.
The proposal, one of four for traffic calming on East Tremont Avenue, was not supported, by a 29 to 3 vote, with one abstention.
“The community’s voice was heard, it held sway, and they got the “no” vote they were looking for,” said CB 10 chairman Martin Prince, who added that talking about reducing or slowing the amount of traffic is a difficult subject.
The board encountered opposition from all corners of the board, including P.S. 14, whose parents were concerned that the plan would lead to increased traffic on Logan and Crosby avenues just when the school was about to start an expansion.
Gianna Dell’olio, part of the P.S. 14’s School Leadership Team, said at the meeting that a crucial intersection near the school, where Logan Avenue reaches Bruckner Boulevard, is already backed up with traffic.
If more traffic was to be diverted from East Tremont Avenue because traffic was not flowing well, then the side streets would be impacted, she implied.
TNMA board member John Cerini, who organized opposition to the plan, brought together interested parties to fight the proposal.
“I definitely agree we need to do something to control the speeding,” said Cerini, but added: “I am sure that if we put our heads together between the merchants association, homeowners association, and the schools, we can do something to reduce the speed.”
Cerini said that after the April full-board meeting, it seemed like the so-called ‘road diet’ proposal was not moving forward, but then he learned at a Tuesday, May 12 CB 10 Municipal Services Committee meeting that it was.
Cerini said he was gratified by the final vote.
“I applaud CB 10 for doing the right thing,” said Cerini.
Prince said that the board could have been better informed about the community’s feelings about the proposal, but he also said that CB 10 has a responsibility to look at all sides.
For its part, through a spokesman, DOT stated that it would be happy to abide with the CB 10 decision.
Also not supported by CB 10 was an idea to make the Hutchinson River Parkway service road between East Tremont and Westchester avenues one way, and the narrowing of East Tremont Avenue at Whitmore Avenue.
Approved by CB 10 was the installation of a concrete island at Ericson Place and East Tremont Avenue.