Traffic upgrades for Square

A dangerous stretch of local asphalt is about to get smart.

A length of E. Tremont Avenue in Westchester Square will ill-defined traffic measures will receive a major safety upgrade this spring.

The city Department of Transportation plans to redesign an accident-prone chunk of the wide avenue from Bronxdale to St. Raymond’s avenues.

DOT statistics show 180 people were injured from 2007-2011 along the stretch.

Almost 85% of drivers along it during that time went faster than the citywide 30 mph limit, the DOT said.

The plan aims to shorten crossing distances for pedestrians by adding islands and crosswalks, tackle speeding with new stoplight timing, and combat traffic backups by installing left-turn only lanes.

The incoming changes are separate from a Neighborhood Slow Zone, slated for 2016, that will target motorist speeding on the nabe’s narrower residential streets.

No man’s land

The highlight of the planned rejiggering is an overhaul of what locals call a “no man’s land” – the collision of E. Tremont with Overing and Silver Streets. That problematic patch will be divided into two different intersections.

Among the changes:

•Three pedestrian islands in the middle of E. Tremont Avenue to give those crossings the 70-foot wide avenue a chance to catch their breath.

•Extensions of the sidewalk at Overing Street and Silver Street that cut down on crossing distance.

•A new stoplight timing plan that breaks up turning into four different “phases.”

•Banning a left turn from Silver Street onto E. Tremont.

•Creating a designated left turn lane from E. Tremont on to Silver Street.

The current intersection alone accounted for 61 injuries from 2007-2011, including some high-profile crashes. Last July a man drove a car through a brick wall and into the Clarke And Son Signs store just off E. Tremont on Overing, killing himself and injuring his passenger. A crash happened as recently as Thursday, Nov. 7, when a car rammed into a pole on E. Tremont and Silver Avenues.

More organization could not come soon enough, said Lisa Sorin, executive director of the Westchester Square BID. Though the area is flooded with 25,000 daily bus riders on the BX40 and Bx42 buses, pedestrians are frightened to walk across the unorganized street to visit the stores there, she said.

“You get off the bus and have no reason to want to cross or stay in that area,” she said.

More Changes

The DOT’s plan also calls for a raised median on E. Tremont at Maclay Avenue and Benson Street to better define where motorists should turn. A safety island for pedestrians will come in at E. Tremont and St. Raymond’s Ave.

A few blocks east, DOT will redefine the stretch of E. Tremont between Bronxdale Ave. and Montgomery Place by slicing the current lanes into smaller designated turning lanes.

The city agency had been studying the intersection since 2011.

Ben Kochman can be reach via e-mail at or by phone at (718) 742-3394

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