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Bronx Food Distribution Center Complains About Traffic Changes

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A change in traffic flow has has created a traffic nightmare for a major food distribution center in the Bronx.

As CBS 2's Alice Gainer reported, the city recently changed traffic around the Hunts Point Cooperative Market to one-way as crews install bike lanes, trees and paths to the area.

The changes, however, are causing delivery delays and accidents, said the market's general manager, Bruce Reingold

Each week, thousands of trucks pass through the market, dubbed the "world's largest food distribution center." Reingold estimates that three quarters of the meat sold in the Tri-State Area comes through the facility.

"Cars going into (the trucks). We had a bad accident here on Friday, and we have a lot of very near misses every day," Reingold said.

Vendors say the changes couldn't have come at a worse time, with Thanksgiving just days away.

"It's harder for us to receive our deliveries on time," said Mark Solasz, vice president of Master Purveyors. "Trucks have to actually do an extra three-quarters-of-a-mile loop around the market."

Reingold complained about the lack of communication between the city and the market. The only signs he saw about the traffic change were several spray-painted plywood signs, he said.

He added that, at the very least, the city should have planned the traffic change for next week, since the holiday means even more trucks coming through.

The city said in a statement: "We are evaluating increased signage and other ways we can continue to address concerns of the market vendors about the roadway and landscaping improvements."

The bike lanes are part of the South Bronx Greenway Project, and the city says the traffic flow will remain a one-way loop permanently.

City officials added that they were in contact with the businesses and the traffic change will actually help the flow in the area.

"You have all kinds of truck traffic here," Reingold said. "It's not really an area for people to come ride bicycles and Rollerblade."

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