Community residents concerned about a dangerous intersection are mobilizing to ask the city for traffic controls.
The intersection of Bronx Park East at Waring Avenue, often used by children to access Waring Playground, is dangerous and in need of some kind of traffic controls, local leaders said.
An effort by some in the Bronx Park East community who are calling on NYC Department of Transportation to install a three-way stop or a streetlight got a boost from Councilman Ritchie Torres, who mobilized a rally on Wednesday, November 2 to call attention to the situation.
“My office is partnering with the Bronx Park East Community Association to call for some traffic calming measure at the intersection of Bronx Park East and Waring,” said Torres. “We have been pleading with the DOT for three years, and for three years we have been largely ignored.”
A request is currently pending with DOT, but previous ones have been turned down, said Torres.
The councilman said that the park and its playground, along with a soon-to-be opened gate to the New York Botanical Garden and nearby P.S. 96, are producers of pedestrian traffic, and that this warrants consideration by DOT.
“We are relentless in demanding safety for our neighborhood,” he said.
BPECA co-leader Raphael Schweizer said that two traffic studies were requested of DOT in 2012 and 2014, but neither request led to changes.
Several things are of concern at the crossing: lack of crosswalk markings, a very wide street, diagonally- parked cars on one side and a road that is prone to speeding drivers, said Schweizer.
“Cars speed and they (often) don’t stop when people are crossing,” he said, adding “Pedestrians fear for their lives because they have nowhere to go, in the middle of this wide street, if cars speed.”
Schweizer thanked DOT for all that it has done to improve traffic safety overall in the Community Board 11 service area, but said that in this case, something needs to be done.
“This intersection is in dire needs of traffic controls, and a traffic light would be most beneficial to motorists and pedestrians,” he said.
Lisa Perrine, a Bronx Park East resident who crosses the roadways with her twins in an extra-long baby carriage, said she has serious safety concerns.
“The traffic is fast, especially at the end of the work day,” said Perrine.
Since Bronx Park East is not all that heavily trafficked, Schweizer said he believes that the street is a good candidate for a ‘road diet,’ which is a reduction of travel lanes.
The current two lanes in each direction could be reduced to one in each direction, he believes, with bicycle lanes added to complement the street.
A spokeswoman for DOT said they are aware of community concerns at the intersection.
“We have received one request from the community regarding possible traffic signals and are currently conducting a study,” stated the spokeswoman in an email.