Vol. 16, No. 9    April 24 - May 7, 2003


Oval to be Narrowed With Striped Markings


Connie Moran, the borough's transportation commissioner, revealed her agency's plan to slow traffic on Reservoir Oval at a meeting hosted by the Mosholu Woodlawn South Community Coalition last week. 

Rather than introducing stops signs on the Oval's main intersections, or by widening sidewalks, DOT instead has opted to introduce a yellow-striped buffer zone to create a consistent 13-foot lane on the entire circular roadway.

Moran said that the main problem with the street is that "it's not a regular width," and varies in size from 42 feet at its widest point to 18 feet at its narrowest. 

Though not a physical barrier, Moran said that the yellow stripes would offer a visual cue to drivers.

"When you narrow a roadway, it does slow people down," Moran said. 

Residents were pleased that action was being taken, but some, like Lisa Murray, the Norwood resident who chaired the meeting, were disappointed that their request for speed bumps was denied.

Moran responded that the roadway didn't meet the criteria for speed bumps. "They've looked at it four times in the last four years," she said, adding that the criteria require a stretch of road of 250 feet without driveways or curb cuts. 

The Oval did not meet criteria for four-way stop signs either, Moran said. She promised, though, to get residents the actual study that explains exactly why that is so. 

Moran also said that additional measures could possibly be implemented after the stripes are painted, including taking another look at the feasibility of stop signs. 

Another possibility is the addition of pedestrian delineators, which Moran also referred to as "upside down baseball bats." Those would make it even safer for pedestrians to walk within the yellow lines, Moran said, a particular concern since much of the Oval does not have a sidewalk.

Residents concerned about speeding around the Oval, which circles the busy 
Williamsbridge Oval Park, have been meeting with city officials regularly over the past few years to come up with a way to slow traffic. 

"Yield doesn't mean stop and [cars] won't stop unless they see a stop sign," said resident Ima Gattas.

Moran said that, in addition to the new measures, which also include newly painted crosswalks, police enforcement of the speed limit is essential. 

"To be honest with you, you gotta get the cops out here once in a while," Moran said. Coalition members said they would contact the police about the matter. 

The yellow-striped buffer zone will be complete with six to eight weeks, Moran said.

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