White Plains Road traffic is now too calm

The intersection of White Plains Road and Morris Park Avenue was deemed dangerous in 2014, leading to traffic calming measures that have brought traffic to a halt.
File photo

Traffic calming measures on White Plains Road meant to slow down drivers has worked too well.

Community Board 11 has asked NYC Department of Transportation to remove the traffic calming measures implemented in November because the changes have caused traffic to come to a standstill during the morning and afternoon rush hours.

DOT identified White Plains Road as a high crash corridor last year as part of Vision Zero, where safety is prioritized for high crash roads, and safety enhancements for the corridor were proposed in June 2014. Community Board 11 voted unanimously in favor of the traffic calming measures at the time.

The four-lane street was converted into a three-lane roadway between Birchall Avenue and the Cross Bronx Expressway.

In each direction, motorists now have only one driving lane, with a wide parking lane and a left turn lane.

Since the changes were implemented, community members are saying the reduction in driving lanes is causing severe back ups on the road in the Van Nest neighborhood, with southbound traffic backing up in the morning and the reverse in the evening.

“Traffic is a mess here, it’s a disaster,” said Al D’Angelo, vice chair of Community Board 11.

D’Angelo was one of several board members who met with DOT Bronx Borough Commissioner Connie Moran on March 31 to discuss the issue, and present her with a letter from the community board requesting the traffic calming measures be reversed.

But the DOT asked for more time to study the situation, district manager Jeremy Warneke said, and plans to place a traffic counter near the intersection of White Plains Road and Morris Park to measure the volume of traffic before developing any solutions.

The nearby Con Edison entrance and exit may be contributing to the rush hour issue, said Warneke, and the traffic study should address that question.

After concerns were raised about the traffic earlier this year, the DOT did adjust signal timing, said Warneke, but the complaints are still coming.

DOT did not respond to requests for comment.

D’Angelo said he appreciated that Moran met with the board on the issue.

“She listened to all our complaints,” he said. “She took everything we said in to consideration.”

And while the community board has asked for a return to status quo, D’Angelo admits that the corridor had its problems before the measures were implemented.

“It was dangerous, every one was speeding through it,” he said.

But now that problem has switched to the other extreme, with traffic reduced to a crawl, he hopes a middle pathway can be found.

“Hopefully we can do a little bit of both,” said D’Angelo.

Reach Reporter Jaime Williams at 718-260-4591. E-mail her at jwilliams@cnglocal.com.

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