VITAL SIGNS

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Bronx activists witnessed a miracle last week–or at least that’s what the city’s transportation chief would have them believe.

Since last August, community activists Mothers on the Move (MOM) have lobbied the city for speed bumps and signs on streets in Hunts Point that they claim see a traffic injury a month from trucks headed to the area’s huge waterfront markets.

MOM says the Department of Transportation promised no-truck and crosswalk signs at a handful of intersections in meetings this spring, but nothing had been done. So the group invited DOT commissioner Wilbur Chapman on a bus tour to see the problems himself.

During the tour last Wednesday, MOM’s Willie Erazo spotted a shiny new set of signs that had appeared at the corner of Lafayette and Bryant avenues overnight, the concrete at the base of the poles still fresh. Could a similar set of signs be installed for westbound traffic, he asked? “Yeah, I think I can arrange another miracle for you,” Chapman responded.

The outlook for another MOM request is less favorable. DOT and the Hunt’s Point Economic Development Corporation released proposals this spring to open Longwood Avenue to truck traffic. MOM wants the city to keep the street truck-free, citing the death of 6-year-old Crystal Vargas by a truck driving illegally on Longwood last July.

But the commissioner argued that trucks cannot be eliminated from the neighborhood. He did agree to read the group’s proposal for alternate routes.