March/April 1999, p.10

Big Win for Little People

These newly installed bollards and striping work to slow cars and discourage truck traffic on Spofford Avenue, near PS 48 in The BronxChildren at PS 48 in The Bronx community of Hunts Point are traveling a safer route to school these days. Overwhelming community pressure, including a demonstration at The Bronx office of the Department of Transportation in December, prompted the agency to install the traffic calming recommendations drawn up for PS 48 by The Bronx Borough President's Office's Safe Routes to School program. Those recommendations became a focal point for a community plagued with chronic, illegal truck traffic and speeding. Neighborhood residents were outraged after six-year-old Crystal Vargas was killed by an illegal truck last summer. Over the past nine months, the community has fought to have their safety needs addressed by the DOT. Their persistence has paid off, with:

  • A temporary "paint and bollards" median on Spofford Avenue. A permanent landscaped curbed median is due by the end of spring 1999.
  • Four speed humps, and a commitment to study conditions for a fifth.
  • The reversal of Coster Ave.
  • At least 20 new traffic signs, including new high visibility School Crossing signs and both positive and negative truck route markers.
  • An agreement from the DOT and the 41st Precinct to be part of a new Multi-Agency Task Force, which will continue to work on improving the safety and livability of the neighborhood's streets.
  • An increase in traffic enforcement by the 41st Precinct, including a significantly greater number of summonses for speeding, illegal trucks, and passing a stopped school bus.

Read the latest news on this subject.