Video: Drivers Ignore New Left Turn Ban at Delancey and Essex

As part of the safety improvements on Delancey Street that DOT is installing, the evening rush hour ban on left turns at the intersection of Essex and Delancey Streets was extended to prohibit left turns at all times. To educate motorists, DOT installed reflective overhead signs and temporary electronic signage.

So far, more than a few drivers are ignoring the new rules at one of Manhattan’s most dangerous intersections. During one signal cycle, Gothamist captured five drivers in a row making the illegal turn from southbound Essex Street to eastbound Delancey Street. Some drivers on their way to the Williamsburg Bridge jumped the queue, cutting in front and behind a pedestrian in the crosswalk. “There is often an adjustment period as new projects and traffic patterns are implemented,” DOT spokesman Seth Solomonow told Gothamist. “We’ll continue to monitor the location and will take additional steps if necessary.”

It seems the necessary additional steps need to be taken by the NYPD, which after all is the only agency with the authority to ticket lawbreaking drivers. We’ve put in a request to NYPD’s press office, asking how the agency is enforcing Delancey Street’s new rules. We’ll let you know if we hear back.

  • dc82

    I was in a livery cab coming back from JFK when my cab driver got caught (and ticketed) by the NYPD for making a left turn on Essex/Delancy

  • Cotb16

    It’s no surprise to see this. Besides, it isn’t the only intersection where drivers violate a newly-implemented left-turn ban.

    Two of those offenders are drivers turning from eastbound Gun Hill Rd onto northbound White Plains Road and those turning from 181st Street onto St. Nicholas Avenue.

  • NYPD Spokesman Paul “Professional Liar” Browne:
    “No one is making any illegal turns at that intersection. And if they have, we’ve given a ticket to every single one of them. Besides, it’s a huge city and we don’t have the time to focus on these little annoyances. So what, it’s a deadly intersection? We’ve got real crime to fight. We’ve got dogs to shoot.”
    ::hangs up::

  • Daphna

    Drivers also regularly ignore the left turn ban from Union Square West onto 14th Street.  There are five “no left turn” signs posted at that intersection, and the ban has been in effect for two years, yet 50% of drivers still make left turns with total impunity from the police.

  • Pedestrian

    “Accidents” don’t typically wait for adjustment periods to end.

  • Bob

    The same thing is happening at Union Square West and 14th Street: car after car makes illegal left turns.

  • Anonymous

    Where’s the yellow NYDN with their front page Op/Ed on PSYCHO DRIVERS!!!!

  • Sbauman

    One thing DOT could do is to change the traffic signal to show only up and right green arrows rather than rely solely on the no left turn sign.

  • Guest

    My favorite is the only-in-new-york practice of making the left turn from the right-hand lane. 

  • Jeff

    @88f954ce2aeb09a3b74fc61af89e89c3:disqus  This particular maneuver is known as a “Tee-hee-hee”.  You can just see the goofy grin on their faces as they engage in this long-standing motoring tradition:

    “Tee-hee-hee!  It’s going to take those motorists 7.8 seconds to proceed through the intersection, but by making wildly unpredictable movements that threaten the safety of those around me, I’m going to make it in 6.4 seconds!  Tee-hee-hee!”

  • JamesR

    This kind of loathsome, selfish, and reckless motorist behavior wouldn’t be tolerated anywhere else. Not in any other American city, or in any comparable global city in the rest of the developed world, either.   

  • Not Felix Salmon

    This reflects badly on all motorists.

  • Anonymous

    @88f954ce2aeb09a3b74fc61af89e89c3:disqus : Only in New York? Clearly you haven’t been to Mexico City. 😉

  • carma

    the problem i see is that these drivers probably are so used to turning from essex, that they ignore any new signage.  I’m not quite sure how long the new signs have been up, but if you have been left turning for years, you probably will ignore anything other than a light.  a sign will do no good.

  • Ben Kintisch

    Once again we see DOT comes up with a safer street design plan, and NYPD fails to prosecute dangerous driving.

  • @88f954ce2aeb09a3b74fc61af89e89c3:disqus , don’t worry, it happens in North Dakota as well.  Usually on a right turn from a red light, you’ll see someone get fed up and turn right on red from the left lane.

  • J

    If motorists want any respect on the road, they must regulate themselves. Until then, entitled drivers don’t deserve any special “automobile lanes”.

  • Not Randy Cohen

    Doing this harms no one, therefore it is ethical.

    (Two can play at the “reverse the logic applied to bikes” game . . .)

  • Not Felix Salmon

    Clever @c661ddb94bcffdc2c6124e349eafdc77:disqus but since real people have actually been killed in and around this intersection, it’s not much of a game.

  • Dporpentine

    @2b1e887abccd5e01a1281f83d81d0f97:disqus Real people have been killed blowing red lights. Also not a game.

  • A Padre

    there was a bike cop on 10th and 47th on my way home. he had no helmet. great use of resouces nypd!

  • Andrew
  • David

    I had a car turn left against the law/rules as I biked south through Delancey st on Allen.  Kinda scary!