New ‘road diet’ is just a mess


To the editor:

(re: “Riverdale Avenue lane narrowing’s final act,” Sept. 22)

In a miraculous two-and-a-half weeks, Riverdale Avenue between West 254th and West 263rd streets has been transformed from a four-lane (two-way) street, to a one-lane with two five-foot wide bicycle lanes and turning lanes — completely stripped and resurfaced in record time.

The Riverdale Avenue “road diet” is “complete.”

However, the turn lane has no left turn arrow signal, so it is up to the turning car and the oncoming car’s judgment as to who goes first. Why can’t DOT install left lane turn signals and arrows?

In addition, since the work has been completed on Labor Day weekend, school has started. Has anyone from the city’s transportation department observed the traffic at P.S. 81 when school starts and when school lets out? I doubt it.

It’s a mess! The buses — there are six different routes — somehow get backed up in this one lane, and of course, you have the public trying to travel north or south at the same time. Guess what happens? Cars will go into the oncoming traffic lane to get around the standstill traffic. Thank God no one has been hurt — or worse, killed — in a head-on collision.

And, in addition, what was a less than five-minute commute from one end of this span to the other now takes at least 15 minutes!

In addition to the expedited, non-transparent project, DOT did not resurface any of the bus pads, thereby creating the possibility of flooding and freezing and pile up of snow.

Talk about making it easier for riders to get on and off the bus.

And at the Community Board 8 meeting earlier this year where DOT representatives spoke of the “safety” purposes of this project, more than 150 residents attended this meeting — the majority in opposition to the revamping of Riverdale Avenue who complained of DOT’s lack of transparency.

No business representative, church representative, school official or local resident spoke in favor of this transformation.

And to address the two bike lanes — residents have said you can count on one hand the number of bikers that have passed through. In addition, prior to the installation of the bike lanes, quite a few bikers ignored traffic laws. Do we pray this will not continue to happen, now that they have their own lanes?

So much for pedestrian safety!

Let’s hope DOT comes to its senses and reverses this “calming” renovation. The last thing we need is to see an increase in pedestrian accidents. Perhaps they should be expediting the installation of a traffic light at Oxford Avenue and West 235th Street, where in early August, a 99-year-old resident, Bernice Schwartz was struck by an SUV and killed.

Lee Chong


The author is chair of the social action committee for RSS-Riverdale Senior Services

road diet, Lee Chong, Riverdale Avenue, lane narrowing, DOT, West 235th Street, Oxford Avenue