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City to Install Deer Crossing Signs on Staten Island

By Nicholas Rizzi | November 13, 2015 2:50pm | Updated on November 16, 2015 8:59am
 The city will install 21 deer crossing signs at spots around Staten Island to warn drivers about the animals crossing.
The city will install 21 deer crossing signs at spots around Staten Island to warn drivers about the animals crossing.
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DNAinfo/Nicholas Rizzi

STATEN ISLAND — Deer crossing signs warning drivers to watch for the animals are being put up on Staten Island following a explosion in their population.

The Department of Transportation will install signs at 21 locations and electronic message boards at up to 27 other spots in the borough. They will be the first deer crossing signs put up on city streets.

"We know deer can pose significant challenges to our residents on Staten Island and this administration is aggressively addressing the growing deer population," Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement.

"We’re proud to have joined with Borough President [James] Oddo in urging the USDA to quickly release an environmental assessment, and these new road signs are the latest step in our efforts to provide both short and long-term strategies to address the growing deer population."

Streets that pass through or run adjacent to parkland, natural areas with high deer populations and areas with two documented crashes relating to the animals qualify for the signs, the DOT said.

The DOT has already identified 11 spots eligible for the signs.

"The increasing deer population is causing a myriad of problems, including an increase in tick borne illnesses, ecological damage to our wooded areas and an increased danger of collisions between deer and vehicles," Oddo said in a statement.

"This new signage will help alert drivers to the presence of deer throughout Staten Island."

The dangers to vehicles caused by the animals have been known on the borough for a while, with some residents putting up homemade signs to warn of them crossing.

The city also launched a task force with state agencies to tackle the growing deer problem on Staten Island. It will convene after the release of this year's USDA environmental assessment which will include deer management options, the DOT said.

Last year, the city funded a $20,000 aerial survey that found at least 793 deer live in the borough, a 3,204 percent increase from the 2008 count.

The rising number of deer led local community boards, residents and elected officials to call on the city to help deal with the population, with then Assemblyman Joe Borelli repeatedly asking the DOT to install signs last year.

"I'm glad we have reached an agreement with DOT to install deer crossing signs at our most problematic locations," Councilman-elect Borelli said in a statement.

"Staten Islanders are all too familiar that we are now headed into the season where accidents are more likely to happen. I hope drivers heed these warning signs."

The city also caused a stir in the borough last month after the Parks Department captured a deer in Brooklyn and set it free on Staten Island.

"We already have an exploding deer population approaching crisis proportions, and to release more deer into this overcrowded herd is unconscionable," Oddo wrote in a letter to the Parks Department and Animal Care and Control that he posted to Facebook.

The DOT plans to have the signs installed by early December and will immediately add the variable message system boards to six locations where deer sightings are common.

The 11 locations for eligible for the deer signs are:

► Hylan Boulevard from Poillon to Page avenues
► West Service Road from Muldoon to Huguenot avenues
► South Avenue from Forest to Travis avenues
► Richmond Avenue from Arthur Kill Road to Signs Road
► Forest Hill Road from Richmond to Walcott avenues
► Rockland Avenue from Forest Hill to Richmond roads
► Brielle Avenue from Rockland to Bradley avenues
► Manor Road from Rockland to Brielle avenues
► Ocean Terrace from Milden Avenue to Todt Hill Road
► Arthur Kill Road from Veterans Road West to Bloomingdale Road
► Veterans Road West from Sharrotts Road to Tyrellan Avenue