Traffic Plan Faces Delays/Morris Park Ave.’s road ‘diet’ not too popular

Traffic Plan Faces Delays/Morris Park Ave.’s road ‘diet’ not too popular
Community News Group/Alex Mitchell

Traffic on Morris Park Avenue is bad, but residents in the area believe the plan to correct it as even worse.

The NYC Department of Transportation presented a new traffic proposal to Community Board 11 and residents in attendance on Tuesday night.

It was met with nearly total opposition by residents.

The DOT’s proposed improvements include the addition of both turning and bike lanes for the mile and a half portion of the roadway.

It would also set up two fixed loading zone areas for trucks during set hours.

The proposal is aimed at reducing pedestrian injuries as well as improving traffic flow.

While these proposed changes appear doable on paper, residents and CB 11 are skeptical of the proposal’s practicality.

“There’s no such thing as set hours,” said Edith Blitzer, president of the Pelham bay Neighbors Association. “I have a loading zone near me and trucks are there from dusk to dawn,” she added.

“We have deliveries everyday, this proposal would kill business,” said Al D’Angelo, vice chair of CB11 and president of the Morris Park Community Association.

He’s also the owner of Side Street Sports on Morris Park Avenue.

Residents also don’t see the need for the proposed bike lanes.

“People don’t bike around here like they do in Manhattan,” said Tony Vitaliano, chairman of CB11.

“I have yet to see a bike over there,” said Blitzer.

Vitaliano also expressed concern that the new proposal would hurt local business as well as jeopardize the business improvement district that Morris Park Avenue is anticipating.

Residents are concerned the new proposal will shift traffic to the side streets.

Many residents testified at the meeting saying that congestion on their own side streets have constantly been worsening.

DOT Borough Commissioner Nivardo Lopez has seen similar areas improve after this style of change.

“We’ve seen a reduction in crashes and injuries from proposals like this,” said Lopez. As for the volume of bikers, Lopez said “if you build it, they will come.”

Both CB 11 and Lopez however did see eye-to-eye on one issue: that double parking can only be stopped through law enforcement, not traffic modifications.

“Officers should give tickets to double parked cars,” said Blitzer.

Councilman Mark Gjonaj simply wants to support his residents on the issue.

“If this community wants road dieting I am with it, if they do not I am opposed,” said Gjonaj. “My personal opinion on this doesn’t matter,” he added.

The proposal is still in, what Lopez called, an ‘outreach phase,’ meaning it does not have a firm timetable to be implimented at the moment.

“We have other groups to meet with and more information to gather before we could declare unanimous opposition,” said Lopez. “This is just the start of conversation,” he added.

Residents also expressed willingness to work with the DOT on reaching a compromise that all parties could agree with.

Reach Reporter Alex Mitchell at (718) 260-4599. E-mail him at