The 2011-12 school year is going to be a safer one for students at P.S. 96.
On Friday, May 13, Councilman Jimmy Vacca stopped by P.S. 96 to formally announce that he had secured a traffic light from the NYC Department of Transportation for the intersection of Olinville and Waring avenues, which is catty-corner to the school’s main entrance.
The intersection, which currently has a stop sign, has been the scene of one acident involving a student,, as well as several other children during non-school hours.
“We kept going back to DOT and kept telling them we’re missing something here,” Vacca said. “This avenue can be a speedway. I drive by the school andI notice it.”
It is expected to be installed by Thursday, June 30.
The intersection is near exits from the Bronx River Parkway, Boston Road and Pelham Parkway. It has been a problem for as long as most people associated with the school can remember.
Geri Roth is the school’s UFT representative and has been monitoring the dangerous corner during fire drills since 1988.
“It’s a very difficult corner,” Roth said. “You have traffic basically going three ways and there’s a huge blind spot. At the same time you have our kids crossing Olinville and Waring.”
Olinville runs one way and Waring runs two ways. Roth believes that the light will make a big difference.
“It’s going to make it easier for kids to go across. It will help the cars and it will help our crossing guard,” she said. “We’ve had a lot of parents involved with this because it is dangerous.”
Marta Garcia, the principal of P.S. 96 for the last nine years, lobbied Councilman Vacca to have the dangerous junction addressed. She said that the issue of the intersection pre-dated her coming to the school.
Garcia said, “Parents and staff were involved before I got here. While I’ve been here we have had two accidents involving cars there, thank God no deaths.”
The new traffic light will come in most handy at the end of the day, when there is a mass exodus from the school building.
“Dismissal is our most hectic time,” Garcia said. “We use three different doors and kids could be headed any way.”
P.S. 96 has only one crossing guard, who is stationed one block west of the Olinville intersection.