DOT Adds Welcome Chunk of Pedestrian Space to Bronx Broadway Hellscape

New sidewalk space at Broadway and W. 231st Street, to the right of the subway steps. Photos: Brad Aaron
New sidewalk space at Broadway and W. 231st Street, to the right of the 1 train steps. Photos: Brad Aaron

DOT reclaimed a nice chunk of space for pedestrians on a corner of Broadway in the Bronx, bringing some relief to an area that’s otherwise deplorable for New Yorkers who walk and bike.

The curb on the northwest corner of Broadway at W. 231st Street in Kingsbridge, beneath the elevated 1 train, was once lined with parked cars. Years ago the city added a pedestrian island a few feet off the curb, shortening the crossing distance and giving people waiting for the Bx9 a place to stand other than in the street.

Last fall DOT filled in the gap between the curb and the pedestrian island. Now the sidewalk is contiguous, extending from the old curb line to the 1 train stanchion. In total, the new space is roughly two car widths wide and four car lengths long.

Waiting for the Bx9 is not as dehumanizing as it once was.
Waiting for the Bx9 is not as dehumanizing as it once was.

Yesterday DOT tweeted that the project is complete, with accessibility improvements and new LED lighting under the train tracks.

I walked from Inwood across the Broadway Bridge this morning to check it out. The best way I can think to describe it is that, with a little concrete and a couple of new light posts, this corner is now an oasis of relative sanity. A vendor whose name I neglected to get (yay journalism) said he’s been setting up shop on the corner for years and was enjoying the added space. “It’s great,” he said.

The same corner in 2013. Image: Google Maps
The same corner in 2013. Image: Google Maps

Now about that walk. From northern Inwood, across the toll-free Broadway Bridge, and into Marble Hill and Kingsbridge, Broadway basically functions as a highway. It’s a no man’s land with multiple lanes of fast, loud motor vehicle traffic in both directions, long crosswalks, and zero bike infrastructure. In some spots the city has installed median fences to prevent people from crossing mid-block. Though the street is designed to maximize auto throughput, it’s lined with 1 train stations and bus stops that serve people of all ages and physical abilities.

There is no bike infrastructure on Broadway, but there are pedestrian fences. Broadway Bridge in the background.
There is no bike infrastructure on Broadway, but there are pedestrian fences. Broadway Bridge in the background.

Crashes on Broadway between the Broadway Bridge and Van Cortlandt Park injured 46 people in 2015, according to DOT data. One year ago a hit-and-run driver killed Daniel Cabrera as he tried to cross just north of the Broadway Bridge.

In 2013 DOT said it would someday look into adding bike infrastructure to Broadway between W. 168th Street and W. 218th Street, and the Broadway Bridge. Broadway north of the bridge needs the city’s attention as well.

  • Jules1

    A good forward!

  • Jeff

    This should be standard treatment. There are a lot of bus stops that look like this (well, look like the “before” configuration) along Westchester Ave as well.

  • AnoNYC

    This is great, and i’ve noticed this happening around the Bronx.

    Add St Lawrence Ave/Westchester Ave and Fordham Rd/Jerome Ave to the list of recently modified. Parkchester has also seen some substantial pedestrian improvements.

    I really hope the DOT does something about Simpson St/Westchester Ave though. There’s a lot of mid-block crossings there along Westchester Ave between Simpson St and Southern Blvd, a lot of close calls. I think that would be an excellent place for a curb extended mid-block crossing. Or at least reduce the crossing distance substantially along Southern Blvd. That entire intersection is a mess and experiences heavy pedestrian and automotive traffic.

  • AnoNYC

    Simpson St and Westchester Ave looking northeast.

  • AnoNYC

    Simpson St and Westchester Ave looking southwest.

  • AnoNYC

    Intersection of Southern Blvd and Westchester Ave, adjacent.

  • JamesR

    The new sidewalk extensions are indeed nice, but thank you for calling this corridor out as the gross traffic sewer that it is. This is my home turf… I’ve live about a 7 minute walk from this intersection for nearly a decade. Between the cars double parking at the Bx7 stop and elsewhere when they’re not weaving between lanes, constant horns, and aggressively-driven cabs – along with the deafening rumble of the 1 overhead – it’s fight or flight overdrive on this stretch. The Broadway Bridge is particularly egregious and I’ve almost been killed by 50mph traffic while riding northbound past the Marble Hill Houses multiple times. DOT folks, *please* do a Queens Boulevard-style redesign here.

  • WoodyinNYC

    Next a bench, no, a sheltered bench, pls.

  • Bobberooni

    Translation: DOT makes Broadway even more dangerous for bicycles.

    I long ago gave up on that stretch of Browadway, preferring Bailey Ave instead. Now if they just find a way to add some bike lanes to Bailey Ave… Or better yet, make the Putnam branch right-of-way along that stretch useful for bikes.

  • Bobberooni

    To their credit, the recent closing of the southbound right lane on the Broadway Bridge has improved life. Now they just need to do it northbound as well…

  • rao

    What did the local community board think of this? Or did DOT do it without getting a permission slip?

  • JamesR

    This went before BxCB8 and was indeed approved. One of the rare cases where the old arrangement had zero fans, only detractors.

  • HamTech87

    Yes! The Putnam Trail coming south out of Van Cortlandt Park should extend to reach the Broadway Bridge. You can see the ROW along the Deegan Expressway (I-87).

    And in a better world, a protected bike lane would lead from the Broadway Bridge all the way to Yonkers.

  • jzisfein

    A 2-way bicycle path from 218th St to 225th St on Broadway and from Broadway to Marble Hill Ave on 225th St would be an easy and cheap improvement.

    Space is already available for the bicycle path on the west side of Broadway. Heavy rubber matting can be used to cover the metal grate deck and expansion joints. On 225th (photo) approx. 7 parking spaces would be removed. The path would connect to existing ECG bike lanes that direct bike traffic from Broadway onto more bike-friendly Tibbett Ave.

  • HamTech87

    The pedestrian connections here also need to be re-examined. During the winter, walking from the Marble Hill el to the MetroNorth station was quite difficult. There wasn’t even a shoveled way to get across the street.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Was the Putnam trail ever paved as planned?

    It’s southern extension really is a bunch of garbage at this point, so it would be a benefit to the community to see it used for something.

  • ahwr
  • BBnet3000

    In a better world, a protected bike lane would lead all the way from the Battery to Yonkers.

  • Tyler Hill

    Two blocks down the people standing in the middle of Broadway in this picture are standing at an actual bus stop. When school lets out the crowd spills into the roadway. Mostly kids absently looking at their phones.

    Broadway widens here so drivers gun it after 230th Street.

    If I know the City this will change when someone is killed, sooner if the person killed was young and attractive.

  • Tyler Hill

    230th Street at Broadway. To cross 230th here on foot requires three separate sets of traffic signals. Two for each of the slips lanes and one for the main intersection. They are not coordinated for peds so you wait at one, then the next then again the third just to cross ONE street.

    The slip lane to the left is heavily used by cars exiting the Major Deegan so they actually accelerate through the slip lane as if entering another expressway.

  • Maggie

    228th Street at Broadway is even honorarily named for Ted Corbitt, a pioneer and legend in neighborhood long-distance running around NYC.

  • The 2013 version looks like it was designed for a protected bicycle lane

  • devonbanks

    There was a 3 year old kid killed about 200 feet away from here a few years ago. It’s still a highway.

  • devonbanks

    Completely agree. Northbound is much harder to fix because of that right turn on 225, one of the highest injury intersections in the whole city.

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