A stretch of East Tremont Avenue that has had several fatal pedestrian accidents over the past few years is going to receive some lighting improvements.
A NYC Department of Transportation spokesman and a Waterbury LaSalle Community Association board member confirmed that lighting improvements are planned for the summer of 2017 for pedestrians on East Tremont Avenue from Waterbury Avenue to Bruckner Boulevard.
The move is the result of advocacy on the part of the WLCA and Senator Jeff Klein to have more lighting along a stretch of East Tremont Avenue that borders St. Raymond Cemetery and has very dark sidewalks at night, said Andrew Chirico, WLCA board member.
The area affected roughly coincides with the area where the ‘road diet,’ that reduced the amount of travel lanes in an attempt to slow traffic, was implemented along East Tremont Avenue in 2016, said Chirico.
Klein said he reached out to DOT after WLCA suggested improving safety along East Tremont would mean improvements in lighting.
The senator said he received a letter from the organization on the matter, and that he heard directly from the WLCA membership at one of their monthly meetings.
“If you go down the corridor, especially in the area adjacent to the cemetery, it is very dark (at night),” said the senator. “I contacted DOT and they agreed that through the street lighting division install new lights from Waterbury Avenue to Bruckner Boulevard in the third quarter of 2017.”
The senator said that plan would have improvements to pedestrian safety and signage, as a part of the enhancements that should help people to see better at night.
Chirico said that members of his association had become concerned about lighting for pedestrians and motorists during the discussion that ensued from changes made to the roadway as part of the Vision Zero pedestrian safety initiative.
“This should make a very nice difference for the safety of everybody,” said Chirico, adding that it was a welcome change and should be a big help.
“It will brighten up everything on East Tremont Avenue from Bruckner to Waterbury and benefit most pedestrians and drivers, he said. “It was very dark around the cemetery and difficult to see.”
Chirico said that he believes lighting may have played a role in the deaths of two pedestrians along the stretch in the past several years, though he conceded it is difficult to know for sure.
The civic leader said he had been told of the project’s approval on Tuesday, January 3.
In addition to the cemetery, the area affected has markedly fewer businesses than other parts of East Tremont Avenue, said the civic leader.
Chirico said that the roadway change in Waterbury-LaSalle continues to be controversial.
Another WLCA board member, Scott Bernard, continued to pan the changes ushered in by the road diet, which was initially not supported by Community Board 10.