Manhattan Community Boards Want to Fix 57 Dangerous Places for Peds

Yesterday, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer compiled a list of 57 pedestrian danger hotspots identified by community board district managers and sent it to city agency heads serving on Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero task force. Many of the locations in Brewer’s list have a long track record as dangerous locations, including many where people have died crossing the street.

Photo: Camila Schaulsohn/AIA-NY
Photo: Camila Schaulsohn/AIA-NY

“It’s essential that the proper resources be dedicated to implementation and enforcement” of safety fixes at these and other locations, Brewer wrote in her letter to Police Commissioner Bill Bratton and Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg [PDF]. “This list is not meant to be exhaustive or definitive… but represents community input to help inform the Task Force.”

The mayor’s Vision Zero task force is charged with coming up with a strategy by February 15 to eliminate traffic fatalities within a decade. It includes the police, transportation, health and taxi commissioners.

In her letter, Brewer also said that district managers wanted more comprehensive and uniform crash data from DOT and NYPD so they could be better informed about pedestrian safety needs in their neighborhoods. “Many advocates have expressed frustration with the way that NYPD has historically published many datasets in static, PDF formats,” she wrote. As a council member, Brewer led the push for city agencies to release easily-accessible data. “I would urge NYPD and all City agencies to publish real-time data in open, machine- readable formats, such as CSV or Excel.”

The locations identified by district managers [PDF] were chosen for a number of reasons, including a history of fatalities or injuries, confusing design or signal timing, wide crossing distances and insufficient crossing times, high volumes of turning drivers, and lack of traffic enforcement.

Brewer requested three locations from each district manager. Some replied with only one location in need of pedestrian safety improvements, while others listed as many as 15 intersections and streets. At some of the locations, DOT has not proposed safety enhancements. At others, plans are awaiting community board support or have already been installed.

A couple of these locations have been the site of NYPD traffic enforcement operations, including some against pedestrians, but most are not known to have already been targeted by police.

Yesterday, Streetsblog reported requests from CB 11 in East Harlem and CB 12 in Upper Manhattan. In addition, CB 7 on the Upper West Side requested fixes at West 96th Street and Broadway, a site that DOT addressed with a safety proposal at a meeting last night.

CB 2’s requests included West Houston Street and 6th Avenue, where Jessica Dworkin was killed crossing the street by a turning truck driver, and 7th Avenue South at Carmine, Varick and Clarkson Streets, where the board voted a year ago to support curb extensions and other measures.

Community Board 9 had only one request: Morningside Avenue at 124th Street. CB 10 also highlighted Morningside, particularly near PS 180 at 120th Street, as well as Hancock Place, which lies outside the board’s boundaries. CB 9 has voted for a DOT safety proposal for this area, but the agency is drafting a second plan after CB 10 refused to support it.

Among other locations, CB 10 also identified Mount Morris Park West as a street in need of pedestrian safety improvements, despite members of the board regularly railing against traffic calming that DOT installed in response to requests from a neighborhood association.

On the Upper East Side, CB 8 asked for changes to the intersection of East 60th and 3rd Avenue, where DOT has proposed painted curb extensions following the death of 16-year-old Renee Thompson, as well as safety improvements on traffic-choked streets leading to the Queensboro Bridge.

In response to Brewer’s request, City Hall spokesperson Marti Adams said, “We are grateful to Borough President Brewer and Manhattan communities for their commitment to safer streets. Their proposals will be closely reviewed by the Vision Zero Working Group.”

  • Mark

    It is a pleasure to have Gale Brewer as Manhattan Borough President. Fixing our streets is going to take a lot of hard work, and it is great to have someone like Gale who is smart, hardworking, and willing to get into details (yeah, data file formats).

  • Paul White

    clearly public demand for more street safety makeovers is at an all-time high. does the DOT have an adequate budget to me this torrent of demand, or even meet the promises that have already been made?

  • Harlem resident

    CB10 refuses to address 145th and Frederick Douglas Blvd and north of Frederick Douglas Blvd going towards the Dunbar Bldg. CB10 also refuses to address Adam Clayton Powell where some commuters cross the Macoombs Bridge to the Bronx or on there way to work in NYC.

    Also, what exactly does the 125th Street Business Improvement do to help this safety cause. Neighbors have written to the long time Executive Director with no success. Harlem Chamber of Commerce also have ignored all email and written correspondence.

  • HamTech87

    If community boards are being given so much power, should we make CB members elected instead of lifetime appointees?

  • Larry Littlefield

    The reason we have community boards is because like state legislators today, City Council members were once in effect unelected officials, put in by the machine and kept there by the special interests, almost everywhere in the city.

    I think term limits solved that problem for the City Council, which I think is currently the most democratic of the three levels of government rather than the least. That should be appreciated, because there will no doubt be another attempt to take it away.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Or even keep the bike lanes where the paint is disappearing?

    My view is that we’re headed for the falls, thanks to 30 years of spending (or giving away to our pals) tomorrow’s money today. Wall Street pillaging and the related revenues and continual borrowing and deferring (while increasing pension costs) has covered it up in the short run.

    DOT needs to buy the paint. Volunteers may have to go out and apply it.

  • Community member

    Any Community Boards that didn’t cooperate and provide the full three (!) locations should have their leadership replaced, at least at the transportation committee level.

  • BXGuy

    I would volunteer a day to paint a pedestrian plaza, free of charge. I wish that the DOT offered such a program.

  • thomas040

    I hope it means more protected bike lanes, as that has proven to be having a calming effect on traffic.

  • It’s my understanding that the high-quality thermoplastic lines need a truck-mounted machine to apply them.

  • Did you call Andrew Lassalle, Assistant District Manager at 212.749.3105 to discuss your concerns, or are you hoping he reads Streetsblog? I rang up my district manager soonest and had what I felt was a productive conversation.

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