It has been a long time coming, but last week, local officials announced that a new traffic light will be installed at the intersection of Independence Avenue and West 235th Street.
“We dug into our records. Our office requested a traffic light a number of years ago,” northwest Bronx assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz said on Nov. 19. “We found a letter signed by me, the previous councilman and the previous state senator.”
Currently, the intersection has a stop sign at 235th Street, but nothing to slow traffic at Independence Avenue. Mr. Dinowitz said he expects the light to be operational in February.
Councilman Andrew Cohen noted that the nearby Spuyten Duyvil School (P.S. 24), Spuyten Duyvil Library, Seton Park and the Whitehall co-op make for heavy foot traffic at the intersection.
The speed limit on this stretch of Independence Avenue is 20 mph. It was 30 mph until Mr. Dinowitz asked the Department of Transportation (DOT) to create the Riverdale Neighborhood Slow Zone, which encompasses everything west of Henry Hudson Parkway between West 232nd Street and West 247th Street.
Even so, two people have been injured at the intersection of Independence Avenue and West 235th Street this year, according to Oct. 31 data from the Department of Transportation. Since 2009, six people total have been injured there.
“I’ve seen people get taken away on stretchers,” said Laura Moukas, the co-president of P.S. 24’s Parents’ Association. “It’s a dangerous area.”
She also mentioned that her children, who both go to school in the fifth-grade annex located at Whitehall, sometimes have to cross the street without the help of a crossing guard.
“I think it took a long time,” she said of the traffic light installation.
Nivardo Lopez, the DOT’s deputy borough commissioner for the Bronx, said a DOT study found that the volume of traffic at the intersection warranted a stoplight.
“It needs a device to organize the traffic in a timely manner,” he said.
But he warned that a light would not necessarily cut down on speeding cars in the area.
“Often, [traffic lights] don’t reduce speeding because drivers want to beat the yellow,” he explained.