Few accidents logged at disputed school crossing

 

 

By MIAWLING LAM

The NYPD has logged just two dozen accidents outside two of Riverdale’s public schools since 2007, new statistics show.

Official crash data prepared exclusively for the Riverdale Review reveals police have recorded only 25 accidents along the six-block stretch of Independence Avenue between West 232nd and West 238th streets in the past six years.

In comparison, the intersection of Broadway and West 230th Street has played host to a whopping 324 accidents over the corresponding period.

Locals have long argued that traffic-calming measures are desperately needed along the Independence Avenue corridor. The P.S. 24 parents association was even successful at lobbying the 50th Precinct to deploy officers to the area to monitor the situation.

But data now shows that while the number of accidents has escalated—there were eight accidents last year, compared with just two in 2008—the stretch clearly isn’t one of the precinct’s worst intersections.

Training sergeant at the 50th Precinct Michael Hennelly said of the 25 cases, six involved pedestrians. Of those, five people—whose ages ranged from 34 to 94—reported only minor injuries. None of the injuries was life-threatening.

“Three pedestrian accidents occurred at the intersection of West 235th Street, two in 2010 and one in 2012,” Sergeant Hennelly said in an email.

“Two pedestrian accidents occurred at the intersection of West 237th Street in 2007 and one in 2010. One pedestrian accident occurred at West 238th Street in 2009.”

The intersection of Independence Avenue and West 235th Street, which has been repeatedly cited by the P.S 24 parents association as being particularly deadly, accounted for more than half of all accidents, with 14 crashes. Of those cases, three involved pedestrians.

Meanwhile, the intersection at West 237th Street was the site of nine accidents, while two were recorded at West 238th Street. No crashes were recorded in the remaining cross-streets.

Commanding officer of the 50th Precinct Captain Kevin Burke said the six-block stretch of Independence Avenue simply “doesn’t show up as an accident-prone location.”

Late last year, Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz stepped up efforts and called on the city to designate the entire 14-block stretch along Independence Avenue between West 232nd and West 246th Streets a Neighborhood Slow Zone.

Councilman G. Oliver Koppell, State Senator Adriano Espaillat, the 50th Precinct and the parents associations at P.S. 24, M.S/H.S 141 and Riverdale Temple Nursery also supported the plan.

A DOT spokeswoman said the slow zone application was currently being reviewed. If approved, the speed limit along the busy thoroughfare would be lowered from 30 mph to 20 mph.

Applications are assessed based on a range of factors, including the number of traffic crashes within the proposed area, but Captain Burke didn’t believe the pending slow zone application would be jeopardized by the minimal number of accidents.

“Ultimately, they’re going to decide and take everything into account,” he said.

“I think the fact that two schools are in the location and the fact that it’s a wide roadway that is pretty well-traveled benefits the request for a slow zone.

“But as far as being an accident-prone location, it doesn’t fit that criteria, but that’s just one of many factors they’re considering.”

Captain Burke was also quick to point out that the figures don’t paint an accurate picture as they fail to document near-misses.

“What is hard to qualify are the near-misses that the neighborhood and residents regularly complain about on Independence Avenue,” he said.

Locals have previously accused motorists of speeding through the area, double-parking, triple-parking, blocking traffic and recklessly darting in and out of the four-way stop sign outside the two schools.

According to a timeline released by the DOT, slow-zone applications are reviewed through the winter, and successful applicants are informed of their selection in the spring. The new zones are then designed and presented to community boards before construction begins in the summer.

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