Bronx, NY – After many years of advocacy, Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz can finally end his crusade to get a left-turn signal installed at the intersection of Riverdale Avenue and West 231st Street. The New York City Department of Transportation finally installed the new signal this week, making it safer for pedestrians crossing West 231st Street as well as vehicles traveling along Riverdale Avenue. DOT had rejected requests for this change dating back to at least 2004, but relented in September 2019 and agreed that a left-turn signal was necessary for southbound traffic on Riverdale Avenue turning left onto West 231st Street.
There are numerous schools, businesses, and residential developments in the immediate vicinity which has often led to conflicts between pedestrians crossing West 231st Street and turning vehicles from Riverdale Avenue. West 231st Street is a busy commercial corridor for the surrounding neighborhood, featuring numerous restaurants, delis, and shops which specialize in personal and professional services. Although in-person education has been paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic, students will return at some point to a safer intersection. One block south along Riverdale Avenue at West 230th Street is an entrance to the former JFK campus, which now hosts seven public schools plus MS/HS 368 (over 1,000 students), and PS/MS 37 (over 600 students). In addition, a new high school (International Leadership Charter HS) opened in 2016 and now has an enrollment of over 400 students at 3030 Riverdale Avenue on the corner of West 231st Street. Two blocks east along West 231st Street, on Corlear Avenue, is another school (Amber Charter School) which has an enrollment of almost 300 students.
Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz said: “I think I speak for everyone in the neighborhood when I say that I breathed a major sigh of relief the first time I saw this new left-turn signal for West 231st Street and Riverdale Avenue. There are so many more people visiting and living in this area than there were even twenty years ago, and pedestrian traffic has clearly increased. Drivers no longer have to say their prayers every time they want to turn left and pedestrians can feel a little more comfortable as they cross West 231st Street (with the right-of-way) now that turning vehicles have their own signal phase separate from pedestrians. Thank you to everyone who fought so long for this change, especially Council Member Andrew Cohen who made this a top priority for him from the first day he entered office in 2014 as well as Congressman Eliot Engel. Thank you as well to Bronx Borough Commissioner Nivardo Lopez for getting this signal installed amidst a pandemic. I look forward to a continued partnership in making our streets safer for all users throughout the 81st Assembly District.”