Traffic light sparks debate in Pelham Bay

With a complete traffic study of the streets of Pelham Bay by both the city and state Departments of Traffic now underway, residents of Pelham Bay are debating what is the best course to take on several different trouble spots for cars in the community.

The corner of Roberts and Crosby avenues is especially hazardous, with cars wishing to cross from one side of the Crosby to the other often facing a never-ending stream of traffic from both directions.

Many accidents have occurred in recent years at the busy intersection, and now some members of the Pelham Bay Taxpayers Community Association want to take action by placing a traffic light at the corner.

“I must have given councilman Vacca over 40 pages of a petition calling for the installation of a light at the corner of Roberts and Crosby avenues,” said Frank Tranchese, a PBTCA board member at their September 16 meeting. “I understand that in the past four years there have been 30 accidents at the intersection, and with children crossing the street to get to and from P.S. 71 and Our Lady of Assumption School, I think it is called for.”

Crosby Avenue, one of the main commercial arteries in Pelham Bay, has been described as a “disaster,” with double-parked cars and too little parking, as well as cars darting through the cross streets.

Tranchese noted that there is no place to cross the street on Crosby Avenue along where is has the most commercial businesses, between Roberts and Westchester avenues.

Tranchese pointed out that in Manhattan, there are traffic lights on 42nd Street at both 7th and 8th Avenues, speculating that if cars can stop on successive blocks at those intersections, stopping at three successive intersections on Crosby at Middletown Road and Roberts and Westchester avenues wouldn’t be a burden for motorists.

Not so, says one other member of the PBTCA, who thinks that putting a stoplight at the intersection is a bad idea.

“Crosby Avenue is a disaster already, with cars trying to worm through the street on the commercial strip,” Pat Vaccarello, a long-time Pelham Bay resident, noted. “I don’t feel that the DOT putting a traffic light at that location would benefit the street.”

Instead, Vaccarello said that he would support making Roberts Avenue go in two separate directions away from Crosby Avenue, eliminating any need for a traffic light at the busy intersection.

“This would eliminate vehicles crossing Crobsy Avenue at Roberts Avenue,” Vaccarello noted, adding that while he thought traffic calming measures are important, they are not always the answer for either too much traffic or reckless drivers.

“They should do the same thing they did on St. Paul Avenue. The answer to everything it seems lately is put up a stop-sign, a light, or some speed humps,” Vaccarello explained. “Don’t get me wrong, I think it is great to have four-way stop sings. It now seems that when you drive from Pelham Bay Station to Middletown Road, there is a light on every street.”

Traffic light, Pelham Bay

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