CB 7 Committee Unanimously Endorses Road Diet for West End Avenue

The Community Board 7 transportation committee last night unanimously endorsed the DOT proposal to improve pedestrian safety on West End Avenue, where drivers have killed two pedestrians this year.

The plan endorsed last night includes more pedestrian islands than a prior version but no bike lanes. Image: NYC DOT

The plan would convert the street from four through lanes to two, with a flush center median, left turn bays, and pedestrian islands at the intersections where Jean Chambers and Cooper Stock were struck.

The plan presented last night was expanded, according to TA’s Tom DeVito, with pedestrian islands at more intersections. We’ll have specifics in a future post.

No bike lanes are included in the proposal, leaving a lot of street design experts scratching their heads, wondering what happened to the bike-friendly NYC DOT. Cyclists would be left to jockey among moving and double-parked vehicles in a 13-foot lane designated for parking and loading. With bike-share set for a possible expansion uptown, former DOT policy director Jon Orcutt tweeted yesterday that the lack of bike lanes could be a “missed opportunity.”

State Senator Adriano Espaillat and former City Council Member Robert Jackson attended to voice support for the plan. (Jackson is currently challenging Espaillat for his senate seat.) Espaillat said he would like DOT to implement safety measures on Amsterdam Avenue as well. Last December CB 7 asked DOT to study a protected bike lane on Amsterdam. DOT recently said the agency would present its findings soon.

The next CB 7 full board meeting is set for September 2.

  • Bluewndrpwrmlk96

    The bike lane is there. They just forgot the sharrows….a.and the signage…wait…hmm :-

  • Mark Walker

    A non-cyclist attempts a comment about cycling… The failure to add bike lanes to WEA is a missed opportunity. But look at Amsterdam and Columbus — capacious unidirectional speedways that have loads of room for bike lanes (and one street running in each direction). Then there’s Broadway, most of which has six traffic lanes and two lanes of car storage. Oh yes, there’s definitely room on the UWS for growth in the bike network!

  • Daphna

    Some more details:
    The plan has islands on West End Avenue at 95th and 97th Street. The Transportation Committee of Manhattan Community Board 7 resolution also asked for islands at 72nd, 79th and 86th Street. Those islands would be on the median of the cross streets where they meet West End Avenue, but not on West End Avenue itself as at 95th and 97th Street.

    The section from 72nd to 106th, minus 86th to 88th where Con Edison has
    ongoing work, will be installed concurrent with the street re-surfacing
    between September and Thanksgiving.

    It was wonderful to see the plan passed, and to have the transportation committee members seek to make the plan more robust. Committee members had rational, thoughtful discussion on the plan which was heartening, and such a change from previous meetings. Earlier in the night, from co-chair Dan Zweig’s line of questioning, it seemed he might try to weaken the plan and get the islands postponed; long term co-chairs of the committee, Andrew Albert and Dan Zweig, have a history of speaking against DOT proposed street improvements and re-designs – it was a pleasant change that they did not fight this traffic calming project!!

    The support from many elected officials was a big part of what is letting this project be fast tracked. Aside from former City Council member Robert Jackson, and State Senator Adriano Espaillat who spoke in favor of the plan last night, Manhattan Boro President Gale Brewer, City Council member Helen Rosenthal, and State Senator Daniel O’Donnell voiced support at the July 31st meeting.

  • JK

    I’ve been told that Vision Zero can be thought of as an evolution of
    the Bloomberg era bicycle and pedestrian improvements. Can it? Not
    judging from this street. It took people dying and a public uprising to win these incomplete safety changes on WEA. Think about that. What happened to the protected bike lanes and the message that bicyclists make streets safer for pedestrians and other bicyclists? How safe is this street? For instance, would you let your middle school age kids ride on this redesigned street, knowing that there will always be double parking in the parking lane? (This means there will be doors from double parked trucks opening into the travel lane.) As Jon Orcutt Tweeted, bike-share should be coming here within the next couple of years. How is this street design at all consistent with making this street work for huge numbers of new cyclists?

  • J

    Sure there’s room, but having the capacity for change and actually attempting it are two very different things. CB7 requested that DOT propose plans for protected bike lanes on Columbus and Amsterdam back in 2009! We got Columbus (although it still doesn’t connect to the 9th Ave protected lane), but nothing has happened on Amsterdam. I think people are getting rather tired of waiting around, while DOT misses opportunity after opportunity.

    http://www.streetsblog.org/2009/10/08/cb-7-approves-reso-favoring-protected-uws-bike-lanes/

  • J

    Seriously, this is what a #visionzero street looks like? We have done far better in the past, and we can do better in the future.

  • BBnet3000

    How do we get our 2007 DOT back?

  • Nathanael

    It looks like there’s plenty of room to replace that extraordinarily generously huge parking lane with a normal-sized parking lane, and a bike line behind the parking lane. Hmmmph.

  • carma

    this design sucks. so much street real estate wasted on that median. bike lane. hello!!!

  • Bluewndrpwrmlk96

    I believe this configuration would have worked for West End Ave, less one travel lane in the illustration. Keeping the median flush for emergency vehicles.

  • Bluewndrpwrmlk96
  • Daphna

    Any mention of bikes got a lot of hissing and rudeness and heckling behavior that no other topic brought up from certain members of the public attending this committee meeting. All road users are made safer by virtue of more cyclists on the roads, and by complete street designs that include bike lanes. It is unfortunate that people do not understand that the prevalence of cycling and that adding bike infrastructure benefits them. Bicyclists annoy them and they can not get beyond this.

  • neroden

    Upon research, I find that the parking line is designed specifically to encourage illegal double-parking.

    My god. What is wrong with your city government?

  • Daphna

    West End Avenue is 60 feet wide. The re-design allows for a thru travel lane in each direction, a curbside parking lane in each direction, basically a double-parking lane in each direction, and a center median that will function as alternating left turn bays for each direction. With different priorities, the street space could have been allocated differently.

    The thru travel lane will be 11′ wide, the parking lane will be 13′ wide and the median/left turn bays will be 12′ wide. A car is 6′ wide. A truck is 8′ wide. A thru lane needs only be 10′ for less, even for buses, to safety travel 25mph. Instead the lane will be 11′, which is too wide. A parking lane need only be 9′ wide, but instead it will be 13′ to accommodate double parking since the curbside space is free and thus does not promote the needed turnover of spots.

    If NYC were willing to tackle curbside regulations, then double parking would not have to be a permanent fixture. There needs to be many more loading/unloading zones, many more muni metered streets, longer metered hours, many less parking placards, zero and tolerance for fake parking placards, and fewer streets with alternate side parking where one moves the car only for street cleaning. Free curbside parking is very damaging to NYC. With the proper cost on curbside spots, drivers could get a spot at the curb when they need it and road designs would not have to factor in double parking.

  • jzisfein

    The DOT redesign of West End Avenue has strong support and is on track to be implemented this year. It will reduce crashes and save lives. It will also improve traffic flow. Instead of having to slalom between left turning vehicles in the left lane and stopped vehicles in the right lane, motorists will simply travel in a straight-through lane. There will also be less crash-causing jockeying for position.

    Adding a bike lane at this time could delay or even derail the project. It is also unnecessary. As evidence, I offer AC Powell Blvd which is on my daily bicycle commute. From 110th to 117th there is a bike lane. North of 117th there is no marked bike lane, but there is a wide parking lane that occupies the same space (13 ft) as the bike lane plus normal-size parking lane below 117th. I can attest that the wide 13 ft parking lane _is_ a de facto bike lane. Of course the lane can be blocked by package deliveries, passenger pick-ups and drop-offs, and the occasional double-parked vehicle, but those obstructions happen just as often in the bike lane below 117th, and for that matter in any non-protected bike lane.

    Let’s give full support to the DOT project and get it done. Afterwards, no rush, we can point out to CB7 that the 13 ft parking lane can easily be split into a bike lane and normal size parking lane.

  • qrt145

    Funny how this morning, as I passed a car on ACP Blvd. with the door fully open, I realized that to make sure you don’t get doored you’d have to ride no further to the right than the line demarcating the parking/loading lane. So no, it is not a de facto bike lane, even if it’s better than the previous configuration.

  • Joe Enoch

    This redesign will, without a doubt save lives and protect people from injury. It’s a big victory. It’s frustrating that a prime opportunity to build a north/south protected “bicycle boulevard” was missed.

  • Bluewndrpwrmlk96

    It’s not a de facto bike lane because it is a bike lane…well, a Class 3 route at least, according the NYCDOT Bicycle Map. Even if it was upped to a standard un-buffered Class 2 , you’re still playing with a space no better than 4′, between the right-most travel lane and the left-most edge of a 9′ parking lane, for example, which would put any cyclist square in the door zone. Adding a bike lane to the current configuration, unless they positioned it along the center median or buffered it, I see no difference in my safety.

  • Bluewndrpwrmlk96

    For sure there’s room on West End Avenue, and wanting to add a lane on that street shouldn’t be news. This was foreseen on the 1997 Bicycle Master Plan:

    http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/pdf/bike/manhattan.pdf

    …and still appears on the current map as a potential route.

  • qrt145

    Bike “routes” are cheap, since they are only meaningless lines on a map. Some have tiny signs on the streets, but I can’t recall seeing any on ACP Blvd. No sharrows, either.

    Bike routes are not bike lanes.

  • JK

    Thank you neighbors, this is a big improvement and will save lives and limbs, and we are grateful for your advocacy. But this is still Vision Better, not Vision Zero. The DOT’s slide show says a similar design on W. 6th Street in Brooklyn reduced crashes with injuries by -31%. Here on West End, this design may well reduce crashes by half. It’s understood, that we are we are politically, and apparently in CB 7 in 2014, that is not being able to get the safest possible road designs. Because, those designs would include protected bike lanes, raised crosswalks/speed tables, and major curbside parking reforms. This is not a knock on all of the people who demanded — and won — changes that will help all of us. But one wonders what it will take to get to Vision Zero when this is the best street design DOT has to offer, or the political system can accept, after people are killed.

  • New York City and it’s traffic-nazi commissioner of the Dept of Transportation
    Janette Sadik-Khan have made driving in town all but impossible. And now…under the guise of saving lives…they intend to choke off a vast portion of the upper west side by narrowing West End Avenue?!! Brilliant!!! It’s bad enough that it takes an hour to move ten blocks in midtown, but now they wanna extend the never-ending traffic jam to all parts of the island. And all this started when Bloomberg couldn’t get his way with that half-baked congestion pricing plan he floated years ago. Well…he sure showed us not to mess with him! For the remainder of my time on earth I’ll just hafta know that if I wanna get from 86th and Columbus to the Village I had better give myself three hours…..

  • Cold Shoaler

    “For the remainder of my time on earth I’ll just hafta know that if I wanna get from 86th and Columbus to the Village I had better give myself three hours…..” google maps says this takes 25 minutes on the 1 train, FYI.

  • Spoken like someone who has never had to work in the city and rely on getting to and from the gig in a van! I would LOVE to take public transportation to get to my jobs, but given I move 800lbs of camera gear every time I step outside, that ain’t gonna happen. And before you peg me as someone against all this tree-hugging, bike-lovin’, Earth Day hippy-dippy weirdness that has overtaken the city, I own five bikes, I have a place in the country where I go to dip my toes in the river and I’m about as liberal as it gets on social issues. I just hate seeing New York being turned into something it isn’t based on the misguided idea that if it works in small cities in Europe OF COURSE it will work here! NYC doesn’t need or want pedestrian plazas. We don’t sit around the fountain sipping espresso. We work for a living. And closing off the streets of the city to bike lanes, turning lanes, one-way “Through Streets” and ridiculous tourist plazas is kicking the stuffing out of what was once a vibrant place to be.

  • Nyckid

    “The Community Board 7 transportation committee last night unanimously endorsed the DOT proposal to improve pedestrian safety on West End Avenue, where drivers have killed two pedestrians this year.” UNANIMOUSLY! NO one wants it right?

  • Real New Yorker

    If you had half a brain you’d realize that there are millions of jobs in New York City, and 99.999999% of them don’t involved lugging around heavy equipment. New York does not revolve around you, dude.

  • Joe R.

    You may need to drive for a living, but the vast majority of the vehicles needlessly delaying you are people who don’t have to, starting with suburban auto commuters who stubbornly insist on driving in when most have other viable options. The problem isn’t pedestrian plazas or bike lanes. It’s the fact that the streets are clogged with a lot of totally unnecessary motor traffic. The only vehicles which should be on NYC streets are buses, and delivery/emergency/sanitation/maintenance vehicles. Perhaps also paratransit. And of course the small minority like yourself who really need to drive between jobs. Anything beyond that just needlessly delays those who really must drive.

  • Yeah…cuz God knows a Community Board wouldn’t go against a DOT proposal for fear of the liability that might be involved. Who says this DOT proposal is right? What proof is there that will will solve ANYTHING?

  • Nyckid

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/05/nyregion/in-bloombergs-city-of-bike-lanes-data-show-cabs-gain-a-little-speed.html?_r=0

    Obviously it solves alot. Narrower streets discourage speeding drivers, and pedestrian islands are good for elders and children

  • AnoNYC

    Narrowing West End Ave will have a minuscule affect on your commute.

    Congestion pricing is not gone, it’s on hold.

    One of two things will happen: either traffic will eventually become truly unbearable for those that rely on driving into the core, or traffic will be limited by tolling.

  • AnoNYC

    That central median would be used as a passing lane as the buffered ones are. Should be curbed pedestrian refuges and beautification.

  • AnoNYC

    Create parking protected bike lanes, run a single moving lane in each direction, and maintain a curbed pedestrian refuge throughout.

    Double parking a problem? Add as many loading zones as needed.

  • Andrew

    Do you seriously not realize that congestion pricing would have worked directly in your favor?

  • UWS Non-Believer

    Oh, please! Congestion pricing is just another way to add hidden taxes. It hasn’t proved effective in London and it certainly won’t work here any better. It doesn’t stop those solo drivers who are stupid enough to come into the city and pay $50 to park instead of hopping on a train. And under Bloomberg’s proposal, you would have had to pay a fee even if you lived within the congestion pricing zone and took your car out, not only if you were coming into Manhattan from outside the city. I also live on the UWS and rely on my car for work, and the congestion pricing plan would have meant I would have to have paid an additional $8/day just to do my job.

  • Bolwerk

    How do we get out 1907 DOT back? It was more progressive.

  • Sm

    Take the west side hwy. It is built for cars. Or Columbus or Broadway many routes to choose from.

  • SM

    You prefer cars over people’s lives? This is not only about you but the entire community. Including the elementary school at 95-96 and West End. Trucks are already prohibited on WEA. It is a residential street not a race track or your quick route to the village. Give some perspective sir. You are not the center of the universe.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

DOT Extends Sixth Avenue Protected Bike Lane Plan to 8th Street

|
DOT is extending its plan for a protected bike lane on Sixth Avenue six blocks and will include some concrete pedestrian islands in the project. Previously, the plan called for a protected bike lane between 14th Street and 33rd Street with painted pedestrian islands at intersections. The revised plan extends south to 8th Street and will […]