Why Did DOT Shelve This Inwood Pedestrian Safety Project? [Updated]

The project, presented to CB 12 in 2016 in response to local requests, would make it safer to cross Broadway and Seaman Avenue. DOT won't say what stalled its implementation.

DOT proposed improvements to this Inwood intersection, where the A train connects with several bus lines. Then nothing happened. Images: DOT
DOT proposed improvements to this Inwood intersection, where the A train connects with several bus lines. Then nothing happened. Images: DOT

Last year DOT released a plan for safety improvements at two Inwood intersections, including a poorly designed Broadway crossing where the A train and several bus lines converge. The project [PDF] didn’t come to fruition, however, and DOT won’t say why.

The last (and first) stop on the A is at Broadway and Isham Street, which meet W. 211th Street at an awkward five-legged intersection. The Bx12 Select Bus, Bx7, Bx20, and M100 all have stops there, and there are elementary schools a short distance to the east and west of Broadway.

Crosswalks on the north and east side of the intersection are long — 81 and 95 feet, respectively — and people using the east crosswalk must cross both W. 211th Street and Isham Street while watching for motor vehicle traffic coming from several directions. Crashes at the intersection have injured 18 people since 2009, according to city data.

A shorter, direct Broadway crosswalk and sidewalk extension would reduce conflicts between people walking and driving.
A shorter, direct Broadway crosswalk and sidewalk extension would reduce conflicts between people walking and driving.

To reduce conflicts, DOT proposed a shorter, direct crosswalk across Broadway to a new, accessible concrete sidewalk extension at the corner of W. 211th and Isham, which would formalize an existing desire path. Traffic flow on W. 211th, currently one-way eastbound, would be reversed, with drivers restricted to making right turns onto Broadway.

The second part of the project would add a painted crosswalk to Seaman Avenue at W. 214th Street, where there is currently an encroachment-prone unmarked crossing that connects Inwood Hill Park and Isham Park. DOT would daylight the crosswalk by removing one on-street parking spot.

A second component of the project would improve an unmarked crossing on Seaman Avenue at W. 214th Street, which connects Inwood Hill Park and Isham Park.
A second component of the project would improve an unmarked crossing on Seaman Avenue at W. 214th Street, which connects Inwood Hill Park and Isham Park.

The presentation indicates DOT brought the project to the Community Board 12 transportation committee in May 2016 in response to “community requests.” When we emailed DOT about the status of these improvements, a spokesperson responded, “[W]ork may come to the area in 2018.” A follow-up query asking why the project wasn’t implemented last year, and what would determine how much of it, if any, would get done in 2018 went unanswered.

It’s possible the Department of Design and Construction would be responsible for executing part or all of the project, which could be slowing it down. But if that’s the case, DOT didn’t mention it. That DOT doesn’t call it a capital project, and the city hasn’t mapped it as a capital project, indicates that it’s solely up to DOT to get it done.

A spokesperson for local Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez told Streetsblog he would check with DOT concerning the project. We’ll update this post if we get more info.

Update: DOT sent us the following statement:

DOT has been focusing on the Inwood/Washington Heights neighborhood for some time. In 2011, we completed a safety enhancement project requested by the local community that covered multiple locations and created a safer environment for pedestrians and motorists. In addition, DOT reconfigured the intersection of 10th Ave and 201st St in 2015. We also completed another safety improvement project in 2014 on Broadway and Dyckman in response to requests from the community. We continue to focus on this area with a capital project planned for Broadway and Nagle, which is expected to begin in the next few weeks, as well as continued discussion for a bike project that will bring bicycle and pedestrian safety improvements along Dyckman Street. DOT is proud of its track record across the city and while this neighborhood currently has a separate project underway, we are also installing an operational upgrade as part of this project, and intend to fully complete the project next year as construction resources become available.

  • iSkyscraper

    These are both great projects and worth executing.

    But DOT frequently ignores Inwood, often thanks to the lack of support from the CB. Here’s another recommendation that DOT made in fall 2016 following a CB request in spring 2015, to improve safety around the two schools on 219th and 220th. The CB ignored the recommendation and never brought it to their Traffic and Transportation committee – it was finally heard in April 2017 after resident protest but the CB was not prepared to discuss it and the DOT rep (changed since 2015) said he didn’t know much about it. It was deferred until May, when it will probably be undone by the traffic-blocking car wash on Broadway at 220th.

    Getting things done in Inwood with the DOT, CB, electeds and auto-oriented businesses we have is very, very hard. No wonder DOT prefers going elsewhere for less pain. Why torture themselves trying to execute projects in Inwood?

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/88859376ebce0e8101b34230e5198d25dabc13b97d4df6af491b7e0445844de5.jpg

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