Eyes on the Street: Watch Drivers on 158th Street Run Reds With Impunity

Drivers going to and from the Henry Hudson Parkway at 158th Street pass a traffic signal at a crosswalk that cyclists and pedestrians use to access the Hudson River Greenway. The light flashes yellow until a crosswalk user requests a signal, at which point it turns red and drivers must stop at the crosswalk.

The problem? Drivers often don’t stop for the red.

Anna Zivarts, 29, is a video producer from Red Hook who uses the crosswalk on her rides up the greenway every week, where she connects to 158th Street. She noticed that drivers weren’t stopping for her when she had the signal. “I was going to make a video to show DOT that the light was broken,” she said, before realizing that the light wasn’t malfunctioning. Drivers were simply ignoring it.

“Recently, I’ve seen it every time I’ve crossed,” Zivarts told Streetsblog. “You see people running red lights all the time in the city, but not with such repetition in the same spot. It’s just crazy.”

Streetsblog has inquired with DOT and NYPD about whether either agency would be performing red light enforcement at the intersection, with automated cameras or officers. We also have a request in with Council Member Robert Jackson’s office about the issue. We’ll let you know if we hear anything back.

The intersection sits on the boundaries of the 30th and 33rd Precincts. The next 30th Precinct community council meeting, where residents can express concerns to the precinct about traffic enforcement, is scheduled for June 27 at 7:30 p.m.; the next 33rd precinct community council meeting will take place on June 26 at 6:30 p.m.

  • Traff

    No, wait…. Surely there’s some optical illusion going on here. It’s *bikes* that routinely run red lights.

  • Clarke

    Pretty much same situation goes on at 37th and FDR on the East Side, which I believe is the northernmost exit from the East River greenway. Cars on FDR on-ramp (on east side of the FDR) usually don’t even slow down for the red light there, and it is made worse by the crossunder tunnel that reduces lines of sight for all.

  • tyler

    As those up us that live near Coney Island Avenue in Brooklyn know, the border of two precincts (66th and 70th) means that NO enforcement of any kind takes place. It’s a law-free zone (even though the NYPD drives up and down the road to go to and from their precinct). Clear violations in the roadway are even pawned off as DSNY jurisdiction — obviously parked cars blocking an entire lane of traffic causing a dangerous bottleneck is a sanitation issue, right?

    I’m sure neither the 30th or 33rd precinct will claim responsibility for this stretch of road either…

  • Two other spots: The Manhattan end of the Brooklyn Bridge, by City Hall, and the exit on 37th street from the East Side bike path.

    I’ve often been tempted to take to one of these spots the AAA spokesman who said that motorists followed the rules and if they behaved as cyclists did there would be “carnage on the roads”. I’d advise him to wait for the pedestrian light then step out on the assumption that all motorists followed the rules.

    But I’d be fair. I’d tell him to make sure he had good health insurance and had put his will in order first.

  • Mark Lyon

    It’s ok – they’re not on bicycles so it’s unlikely they will create any danger.

  • Ira Nick

    This behavior is not the result of a few bad seeds. Instead it is an illustration of the selfishness and unscrupulousness of everyone who drives. Anyone who gets behind the wheel of a car must answer for these people. I say we build no new infrastructure for them, nor treat any of their injuries or deaths as worthy of law enforcement, nor even extend any form of common courtesy when we see them out on OUR streets, until every single one of them is a responsible law-abiding citizen.

  • john

    This is why I’ve taught my sons not to trust WALK signs.

  • Excellent reporting! Excellent video. I really hope this stops. I’ve had terrible problems with that very same intersection and the police do not care. I’ve told them about it several times over the past few years.

    I’m going to a meeting next week (the police community outreach meeting for the Bronx) and I’m bringing giant blow-up photos of some of the issues we’ve been having. (people parking on the sidewalk next to a fire hydrant while a garage owner get’s paid for them to be there… I kid you not)

    Keep making noise until they realize it’s serious. It takes a long time. And sadly even after you get progress things can regress easily.

    And be careful. I was hit by a car wile running and it’s had a very long-term impact on my life even though the injury was just to one foot.

  • Anonymous

    My god those evil bikes are camouflaging themselves as cars now to run redlights!

  • I’m bringing some pictures to the meeting next week.

    It’d be great if there was a way to show that video at your meeting–

    Images say so much more.

    The text is what the officers said when I asked them about the cars on the sidewalk and blocking the fire hydrant. “If there is an emergency well tell him to move the cars. “

  • We need to ban driving until this is all sorted out

  • Joe R.

    I might understand running reds in a place like this if the light was on a dumb timer and 99% of the time it was red when nobody was crossing. However, the city did things smartly here and made the light only go red on demand. It shouldn’t be too much to ask motorists to stop when someone is crossing. The rest of the time they don’t have to.

    The city should actually make all their traffic signals on demand like this one. If nothing is crossing an intersection, the light stays green for the main road, red for the side street. When a car, pedestrian, or cyclist shows up on the side street, the light on the main road goes red, and stays red until they get across. None of this is hard to do with today’s technology.

  • Staack

    Thank you Steven for the article and Anna for the Video. I live in the 30th precinct and I forwarded the link to our community mailing list. It’s getting some attention. There are a few crossings that are not pedestrian friendly in this neighborhood. Including an intersection at St. Nicholas Place and 155th Street where many people cross in order to get to Yankee Stadium, which is just across the bridge there.

  • Ian Turner

    I have seen this same thing in Central Park. Really scary.

  • jrab

    The same problem exists on the Cross Bronx Service Rd, near Olmstead.

  • KillMoto

    Maybe they’ll change their tune if the had a few “car on fire” sidewalk emergencies.

  • 115 pounds

    Will the technology trigger when a 100 pound woman rides up on her 15 pound bicycle?

  • Joe R.

    Why not? It’s not hard to use cameras to detect the general outline of a cyclist or a pedestrian, and then trigger the light. You can even detect them when they’re a few seconds away from the intersection so the light is green when they get there.

  • With all the useless red light cameras at busier intersections, you’d think this would be a cash cow for tickets.

  • Andrew

    Useless?

  • I was being kind. Cash cows at best, dangerous at worst.

  • Andrew

    You’re entitled to your opinion, but the evidence disagrees.

    Cameras are virtually the only form of red light enforcement the city has. In the first four months of 2013, the NYPD issued merely 112 red light tickets per day, citywide. It’s no wonder that so many motorists freely run red lights without hesitation – they know that they are more likely to be stuck by lightning than to be ticketed for running a red light. I long for the day that every signalized intersection is equipped with cameras, so that motorists will quickly learn that running red lights will cost them.

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