Scott Stringer, Linda Rosenthal Push DOT to Install Promised Ped Safety Fix

Borough President Scott Stringer and Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal press the DOT to install promised safety improvements at the dangerous intersection of Broadway, Amsterdam, and 71st Street on the Upper West Side. Behind them are neighborhood residents and members of Community Board 7. Photo: Noah Kazis

One year ago, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal stood on a traffic island in the middle of the intersection of Amsterdam Avenue, Broadway, and 71st Street to urge the Department of Transportation to install a slew of safety features at what they called “the bowtie of death.” That September, DOT put out a plan to expand sidewalks, add crosswalks and remove traffic lanes from both Broadway and Amsterdam.

This afternoon, Stringer and Rosenthal stood with Upper West Side community leaders on that same traffic island, urging DOT to finally put that safety plan into place. “Not next year, not during the fall, but now,” said Stringer.

Over the last two years, there have been 34 crashes at the intersection, according to Stringer’s office.

DOT had promised to make the safety improvements by this spring, Stringer said. The only change that’s been made so far are the installation of countdown timers on the walk signals. Knowing how much time you have to cross, he said, “is not the same as actually having more time.” Stringer explicitly called for each piece of the DOT safety plan to be installed, including the curb extensions, crosswalks, and the removal of traffic lanes.

“We shouldn’t be standing here today,” said Rosenthal. She’s been pushing for a safety fix for the intersection since 2007, when her office released a report on senior pedestrian safety in the neighborhood with Transportation Alternatives. The dangers of the crossing are so glaring that the Los Angeles Times led off a story on unsafe streets for the elderly with a discussion of that very corner, Rosenthal pointed out.

Rosenthal also named 96th Street, Riverside Boulevard, and the intersection of 79th Street and Riverside Drive as in need of pedestrian safety improvements.

Stringer said that while he’s met with DOT to discuss the intersection, he has gotten no firm commitment on when the safety fixes would be installed. The DOT press office did not reply to Streetsblog’s inquiry about what has held up the promised improvements.

Stringer was careful to state that the press conference was not an attack on the department or on Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. But, he said, “we’re not looking to come out here when somebody dies.”

Update: “Work will begin next month now that we’ve resolved the major challenges of building atop a major, active subway station,” DOT spokesperson Seth Solomonow told Streetsblog after the publication of this story.

DOT's plan for the intersection will, when installed, remove traffic lanes and add major sidewalk extensions and crosswalks
  • Anonymous

    Now there are some real “Seniors for Safety.”

  • Anonymous

    The traffic pattern seems unnecessarily complex and likely causes driver confusion which exacerbates the safety issues. 
    Why not just pedestrianize Broadway between 70th and 71st? and between 71st and 72nd would increase access to the subway.

  • slowdown

    can we have pedestrian saftery on the Pulaksi bridge – ie by getting cyclists on the downslopes off the pedestrian sidewalk. Its a sh&tshow there. Especially maniacs whizzing at top speed down the slope inches from older pedestrians and kids. That nutter who carries a dachsund in her backpack is one of the worst!
    Honestly, there’s no need fo 3 lanes southbound, give one over to bikes and stop this situation which is causing a lot of anti

  • slowdown

    can we have pedestrian saftery on the Pulaksi bridge – ie by getting cyclists on the downslopes off the pedestrian sidewalk. Its a sh&tshow there. Especially maniacs whizzing at top speed down the slope inches from older pedestrians and kids. That nutter who carries a dachsund in her backpack is one of the worst!
    Honestly, there’s no need fo 3 lanes southbound, give one over to bikes and stop this situation which is causing a lot of anti

  • Mark

    Scott and Linda:  Thanks for your work to make our streets safer.   In the current political climate, leadership like this to makes a huge difference.

  • MR

    More pedstrians are injured by cyclists in Central Park than by cars, trucks and buses at the “Bowtie of Death.”  Stringer and TA’s priorities are all messed up.  Maybe we should rename the Park road “The Loop of Misery” in order to get some attention.

  • MR

    More pedstrians are injured by cyclists in Central Park than by cars, trucks and buses at the “Bowtie of Death.”  Stringer and TA’s priorities are all messed up.  Maybe we should rename the Park road “The Loop of Misery” in order to get some attention.

  • Mark Walker

    Glad to read that someone is paying attention to 96th.

  • A.H.R.

    I agree with Van but instead… They should pedestrianize Broadway from 73rd to 72nd, Broadway from 72nd to 71st, and the downtown Broadway lane between 71st and 70th. Two crosswalks would automatically be absorbed by the pedestrianization. You can also then remove the crosswalk between the greenstreet and WE corner of Amsterdam as well as the crosswalk between the subway island and Broadway mall.

  • A.H.R.

    I meant SW instead of WE.

  • A.H.R.

    I meant SW instead of WE.

  • Niles

    Please provide data to back up your assertion.

  • So you’re comparing an 840 acre park with a single intersection? LOL.

  • Tztrain55

    I agree with some of the improvements, but, do we need to add another pedestrian walkway from the Broadway mall to Subway mall.  In my opinion the lights and Broadway mall are the culprits in this case.  In other areas of NYC, corner crossing has been eliminated and the pedestrian/auto accidents have decreased.  I realize everyone has an opinion and it slows the process to review each opinion.  Has anyone discussed this new setup with NYC Fire Dept and NYC ambulance groups since they more than frequent the roads that this narrowing will effect.  Traffic is already slowed by delivery congestion, I hope that this does not slow arrival times for emergency vehicles.

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