Eyes on the Street: How Snow Makes the Case for Traffic Calming

See those snowy spots in the road? Perfect opportunity for permanent traffic-calming curb extensions. Photo: Clarence Eckerson Jr.
Those snowy spots in the road? Perfect opportunity for traffic-calming curb extensions. Photo: Clarence Eckerson Jr.

Streetsblog asked and you delivered. Earlier we sent out a call for photos of snowy streets where drivers or plows had cleared a path while leaving much of the remaining the asphalt untouched. It’s an easy way to visualize the opportunities for permanent sidewalk extensions like like neckdowns and bulb-outs — but you have to snap a photo before it melts.

In addition to the submissions from New York, the #sneckdown hashtag traveled across the country (much of which is covered in snow at the moment) and even attracted attention from England and Sweden. Here are a few of our favorites from right here at home.

Perhaps the photo that best illustrates the sneckdown idea comes from Jackson Heights, above, snapped by Streetfilms’ own Clarence Eckerson Jr. — who, by the way, created the definitive videos about nature’s traffic calming. If you haven’t watched them already, check it out.

21st Street and 40th Avenue in Long Island City. Photo: Lisa Soverino/Instagram
21st Street and 40th Avenue in Long Island City. Photo: Lisa Soverino/Instagram

Lisa Soverino sent over this photo of 21st Street at 40th Avenue in Queens, where advocates are working with Community Board 1 on getting DOT to study 21st Street for a traffic-calming plan — but built with concrete instead of snow.

Photo: Mark Levine

Reader Joanna Oltman Smith noticed that this photo by incoming City Council Member Mark Levine captured a nice big sneckdown at 157th and Broadway.

Varick and Clarson Streets. Photo: BrooklynSpoke/Twitter
Varick and Clarson Streets. Photo: BrooklynSpoke/Twitter

Doug Gordon of Brooklyn Spoke took a photo from above at Varick and Clarkson Streets, showing large parts of that intersection could be turned over to pedestrians without even taking away useful space from drivers.

We also asked if you’ve seen the city’s protected bike lanes get the same treatment attention from plowing crews as the car lanes have. So far, it seems DOT has cleared the East River bridge paths, and the Department of Sanitation has plowed the Eighth Avenue, Ninth Avenue and Broadway bike lanes.

But things look a lot bleaker on Prospect Park West. Temperatures aren’t expected to rise above freezing anytime soon, so crews still have some time to clear it out before things get icy:

While some protected bike lanes have been cleared, the Prospect Park West bike lane remains covered in snow. Photo: Alex Knight/Twitter
While some protected bike lanes have been cleared, the PPW bike lane remains snowed-in. Photo: Alex Knight/Twitter
  • John Miklos

    These places have to sneck themselves before they wreck themselves.

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