Member Bob Drake writes:
Having lived on Fort Independence Street since 1994, I had made the trek down
Bailey Place and across Bailey Avenue to shop on Broadway thousands of times, and
I had always been frustrated as I crossed Bailey Avenue on the painted crosswalk
that seemed to be invisible to traffic. New York State Law states that when there
is no traffic control signal, drivers must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians in a
crosswalk (Sec. 1151), but even Bx10 bus drivers seemed to be unaware of that. Despite the danger, the
crosswalk has always been much-used because of the adjacent Little
League field, basketball court, and playground as well as nearby public housing.
So on March 3rd of 2011 I wrote a letter to Assemblyman Dinowitz, Council Member
Koppell, and Community Board 8 asking for an overhead light at the intersection
of 234th and Bailey Place. I also took the matter to the Traffic Committee of the
Community Board where it attracted the attention of Mr. Koppell’s aid, Andrew
Sandler. Mr. Koppell’s office brought it to the attention of the D.O.T. which sent an
inspector to assess the problem.
Much to my surprise, and brought to my attention by Riverdale Review writer
Brendan McHugh, Mr. Koppell issued a press release on August 10th, indicating that
a new traffic light would be placed at 234th and Bailey Place, and taking credit for
the idea. But that’s OK.
Work began there on the supports in December and the lights became functional
recently. They are not synchronized with the set at 233rd, as I had hoped, but at least
the neighborhood has a safe way to cross Bailey!
Now if we can just get some painted crosswalks on Fort Independence, particularly
at bus stops, since there are none between Sedgwick and Bailey. I’m working on it!
(Photos by Kristin Hart)