Vacca: Harding Avenue between Emerson and Tremont needs greater traffic controls

This photo was submitted to the Bronx Times from a neighbor and shows an accident at Harding and Robinson avenues on Sunday, August 14.
Photo courtesy of Andrea Franklin

Accidents on a stretch of Harding Avenue have brought the insistent speeding issue on the wide thoroughfare to the forefront.

Residents along a 13-block section of Harding Avenue between East Tremont and Emerson avenues have grown increasingly concerned about cars travelling way too fast.

This lengthy section of roadway has absolutely no traffic controls.

Councilman James Vacca said he has asked NYC Department of Transportation in the past for speed controls on Harding Avenue, and that calls from residents for action are growing louder.

The safety concerns were amplified by recent car accidents at Harding and Robinson avenue on Sunday, August 21, and another accident long the stretch on Friday, September 2, according to neighbors.

“It is 13 blocks and it is totally unregulated,” said Vacca. “Over the years I have asked for traffic lights or ‘all way stop’ signs at a series of these intersections to try to calm traffic; every request has been denied.”

Vacca provided the Bronx Times with correspondence from the DOT from 2009, 2012 and 2015 showing rejections of traffic controls for Harding Avenue, with a common refrain in the letters being that changes are not warranted based on procedures contained in the federal Manual on Uniform Traffic Controls.

DOT has consistently maintained that because of lack of traffic volume on the street changes aren’t warranted, said the councilman.

“Volume alone should not determine whether or not you get a traffic light or a stop sign,” said Vacca.

Harding Avenue resident Andrea Franklin said a speeding car careened out of control while turning from Harding Avenue onto Robinson Avenue recently.

In the process, the speeding vehicle shook her home and smashed into two parked vehicles.

“Recently, and definitely during the past year, the speeders tear up and down that street,” said Franklin. “My fear is that…someone is going to become a statistic.”

The situation is especially concerning regarding the safety of children and senior citizens, she said.

Franklin said she believes that with the addition of several traffic control devices along the multi-block stretch, cars would be forced to stop every few blocks and the situation would improve.

Another neighbor on Harding Avenue, Geri Addario, said that police did an operation to nab speeders a number of years ago.

It was better for a few years but has gotten really bad in the past two years she said.

“This is like a raceway; they do not stop,” said Addario, adding that she has seen cars racing one another on Harding Avenue.

Vacca said that soon after making his request for further study, the DOT reached out to him on Tuesday, September 6 and said they would look into the matter further.

A DOT spokeswoman stated the agency “received Council(man) Vacca’s traffic calming study request on Harding Avenue and is looking into possible safety enhancements to the corridor.”

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 260–4597. E-mail him at procchio@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.

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