Bayside traffic signal rejected

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A spokesman for the agency said a 10-week traffic study conducted at the site revealed that there are too few cars passing through the area to justify the installation of a traffic device.

Christopher Scott, 11, was hit by a car and killed in August as he rode his bicycle across the pedestrian bridge and began to enter the service road, where there is no curb or buffer from the street. In July 1994 John Shim, 10, was killed in the same spot while riding his bike.

Bayside activist Loretta Napier,who is Christopher's grandmother, expressed anger over the DOT decision.

"I am livid," she said. "I anticipated more from the DOT."

The city Department of Transportation made several changes to the site within days of the accident, including a ban on bike riding, striping on the road to push the traffic away from the pedestrian bridge entrance and signs warning walkers of oncoming cars.

DOT spokesman Tom Cocola said Tuesday the agency's commissioner, Iris Weinshall, contacted Community Board 11 Chairman Bernard Haber personally Friday with the results of the November traffic study.

"In both the instance of a stop sign or a traffic light it didn't meet volume warrants," Cocola said of the traffic on the service road. "It has a comparatively low volume."

Haber could not be reached for comment by presstime Tuesday.

Napier said she had not been formally told of any DOT decision either by the agency or CB 11.

"Who are they to say what traffic volume warrants a signal?" she said. "Two children have lost their lives and others have suffered permanent injuries."

During the December meeting of CB 11, Haber said he had forwarded information about accidents at the site to the agency.

Cocola said that while traffic volume is not the only factor considered during a study, some of the accidents Haber noted had occurred on the expressway and not the service road.

Weinshall was scheduled to meet with Haber and tour the site sometime later this month, Cocola said.

While the DOT spokesman acknowledged that Christopher's death had inspired a strong response from the community, Cocola said traffic lights or stop signs do not always fix trouble spots.

"A traffic light is not necessarily a true panacea," he said.

He said the city DOT would continue to work with CB 11 to make further improvements to the changes the agency has already implemented at the site.

Posted 7:16 pm, October 10, 2011
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