street fight

Crosswalks Return to Busy Bronx Strip, Breaking Legal Standstill

The DOT painted a crosswalk on a busy stretch of Morris Park Avenue after complaints, June 28, 2019.
The DOT painted a crosswalk on a busy stretch of Morris Park Avenue after complaints, June 28, 2019. Photo: Ese Olumhense/THE CITY

The city has replaced crosswalks that got erased amid an ongoing legal dispute over plans to reconfigure a busy Bronx thoroughfare.

The repainting of lines along Morris Park Avenue came just days after THE CITY reported on what local residents called a serious safety hazard — and about nine weeks after the old markings were paved over.

“I definitely noticed the crosswalks were gone,” said Crystaliz Paulino, the mother of a 12-year-old. “Having crosswalks means having safer streets, because kids know where they can cross.”

The corridor stands at the center of a lawsuit Councilmember Mark Gjonaj (D-The Bronx) and members of the area’s business community filed in April against the city, which wants reconfigure the avenue to improve safety as part of the Vision Zero program.

Gjonaj and his fellow plaintiffs, saying they didn’t get a chance to weigh in on the plan, sought an injunction against the so-called “road diet,” which would add bike paths and reduce vehicle lanes. In early May, a State Supreme Court judge imposed a temporary restraining order suspending the work while the case is pending.

Traffic zooms past an unmarked crosswalk on Morris Park Avenue in The Bronx, June 21, 2019. Photo: Ese Olumhense/THE CITY

The Department of Transportation  had cited the lawsuit and court order as a reason the avenue remained nearly devoid of markings for weeks. Last week, after THE CITY’s story, a DOT spokesperson said the crosswalks and other markings would return “in this instance.”

By June 28th, fresh while lane lines and crosswalks were back in place, from Adams Street to Newport Street.

Department records show that more than 300 people, most of them in vehicles, suffered traffic-related injuries along the corridor between 2012 and 2016.

City officials, who maintain their plan would curb speeding on the avenue, began work in late April — only to have construction halted by the restraining order.

Judge Lucindo Suarez heard arguments in the case earlier this month. He said on June 10 that he would issue a ruling “sooner or later.”

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