A long-awaited traffic signal has been installed in one borough community.
Advocacy has been underway for a traffic signal at Waring Avenue and Bronx Park East since at least 2012 and in late February the light finally became operational.
Installing a traffic signal at the crossing was something that the Bronx Park East Community Association has been advocating for since its inception six years ago, said the organization’s co-leader Rafael Schweizer.
The intersection has seen a number of close calls with both children in strollers and elders in wheelchairs, said Schweizer, noting that it is a block away from P.S. 96 and adjacent to Waring Playground in Bronx Park. It has also been the scene of numerous car collisions, he said.
The two-way, four-lane roadway is close to a New York Botanical Garden entrance gate located near the intersection. The entrance was recently renovated and reopened last March, said Schweizer.
“Up until recently, this roadway has had zero traffic calming devices: no crosswalk, no stop signs and no traffic light,” said Schweizer, adding he believes the intersection has been an issue for at least 10 to 15 years or possibly longer.
Efforts to get a traffic light approved stalled, when NYC Department of Transportation studies in both 2012 and 2014 indicated that there wasn’t a need for a traffic control device at the location, said Schweizer.
Nevertheless both Constance Moran, former Bronx DOT commissioner and Nivardo Lopez, the current Bronx DOT commissioner visited the site personally and met with the community, he said.
After Councilman Ritchie Torres intervened, a third study request was initiated. Residents were delighted to learn that the signal was approved in September 2017 and the installation work began in January, he said.
Torres organized a rally and held at press conference at the formerly troubled intersection in November 2016.
“Thanks to the relentless activism from the BPECA and local residents, in partnership with my office, the intersection of Bronx Park East and Waring Avenue finally received a new stoplight that will make the intersection safer,” said Torres. “The intersection was of concern for many years, and now residents will be able to walk safely at that location.”
“The third traffic study at the Waring Avenue/Bronx Park East, which is near a school, showed higher vehicle volumes and less time for people to cross than previous studies – deeming the location feasible,” stated the DOT spokeswoman.
The final part of the project, marked crosswalks at the intersection, are awaiting warmer weather.
The community activist thanked Luisa Benedetto, former chief of staff for Councilman Torres, and Romina Enea, Torres’s special assistant, for their work on the project.
Additionally, BPECA is looking to tackle the troubled intersection of Thwaites Place and Barker Avenue, where a terrible car crash occurred on Friday, March 9, he said. The association is requesting a four-way stop.