On February 8th, Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz along with his colleagues Congressman Adriano Espaillat, Council Member Andrew Cohen, State Senator Gustavo Rivera, State Senator Jeffrey Klein, held a press conference at the intersection of Heath Avenue and Ft. Independence Street to bring attention to dangerous conditions at the intersection and to highlight Ft. Independence’s lack of adequate pedestrian safety measures. Deputy Inspector O’Toole and Detective Mindy Ramos from the Bronx’s 50thPrecinct were also present at the event, as well as parents and students from the nearby P.S. 360, and local community leaders including Community Board 8 Chair Dan Padernacht.
The elected officials agreed that the current three way y-shaped intersection should be replaced with a three way traffic light or an all-way stop sign as the current unsafe conditions also do nothing to alleviate speeding cars on Ft. Independence, which pedestrians, most notably children, must deal with when attempting to cross the street on the way to school or to the Kingsbridge Heights Community Center which hosts several after school programs.
After repeated requests for a review of traffic conditions by Assemblyman Dinowitz, the Department of Transportation DOT agreed to conduct a twelve week traffic study in September of 2016.
The results of that study were released and the Bronx DOT Commissioner Nivardo Lopez confirmed plans to have the traffic light installed. In addition, the Fort Independence Street Corridor will be studied for additional safety improvements.
"I have led the calls for a traffic signal at a Fort Independence and Heath Avenue for some time, So I am very pleased that DOT has agreed to install a traffic signal at this very dangerous intersection by the end of July. I have seen first-hand how dangerous this location is for pedestrians and motorists alike. Just recently, community leaders and my colleagues in government joined me at this location to demonstrate the importance of improved safety measures at this intersection and to demand action. I am confident that safety will be improved thanks too this wise decision by DOT,” said Assemblyman Dinowitz.
The installation of a traffic light at Fort Independence Street and Heath Avenue will make this busy intersection much safer, particularly for our children and seniors," said Council Member Andrew Cohen. "I'm thankful the DOT heeded the request of the elected officials and residents, and responded quickly by agreeing to install this needed traffic light."