New York Daily News

A driving force

Grad student’s traffic plan could help ease packed I-95

- BYJENNIFER H. CUNNINGHAM jcunningha­m@nydailynew­

A COMMERCIAL boom in the northeast Bronx will cause intense traffic along the I-95 corridor between Co-op City and the Whitestone Bridge — but not if a crusading graduate student has anything to do with it.

One of the developers of the four new projects said traffic could be mitigated by building and widening ramps and roads, but a student from Columbia has debunked the notion and devised several low-cost options.

“We like to call it the people’s traffic plan,” said Community Board 10 District Manager Kenneth Kearns.

Graduate fellow Francesca Camillo’s recommenda­tions include a shuttle service between two of the new shopping centers, a dedicated traffic lane that would guide drivers off the Whitestone Bridge and into the now-under-constructi­on Throggs Neck Shopping Center and revamping a median between two developmen­ts so it’s more pedestrian-friendly.

“These suggestion­s are a way to help the residents continue their lives as they are now,” said Camillo, 31, who created the plan during two semesters at Columbia.

She said her recommenda­tions would enhance quality of life and may cost less than constructi­on.

“These proposals would be minimally invasive to people,” Camillo said.

Community Board 10 adopted the plan in May, and has sent it to the affected developers and local politician­s.

Constructi­on has started on a Macy’s in the Bay Plaza Mall, the Throggs Neck Shopping Center and a golf course at Ferry Point Park. A new outlet mall at the Whitestone Cinemas is also in the works.

Kearns said the board wanted its own traffic-management plan that vetted “no-build” alternativ­es.

“Given the city’s fiscal situation, we thought we would come up with one,” Kearns said. “This is all designed to (cheaply) limit the amount of traffic in the area.”

Other suggestion­s in the plan include: l Creating a turning lane on St. Joseph’s Way in Ferry Point for motorists leaving the Throggs Neck Shopping Center to get to the highways. l Creating a “mall only” lane on the Whitestone Bridge to guide drivers to the shops. l Creating a pedestrian-friendly pathway between the Throggs Neck Shopping Center and the Whitestone Cinema outlet site.

“We’re trying not to have gridlock between Co-op City and the Whitestone Bridge,” Kearns said.

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