Inwoodites Want Changes at Deadly Broadway Intersection

Broadway at Dongan Place in Northern Manhattan. The bus shelter in the far background replaces another that was recently demolished when a vehicle left the road.

Residents near the border of Inwood and Washington Heights have seen enough crashes on Broadway at Dongan Place, and are pressuring officials to do something about it.

Last week, at a meeting of Community Board 12’s Traffic and Transportation Committee, 15 people testified to the dangerous conditions along this uptown stretch of Broadway along Fort Tryon Park, where a curve in the street leads motorists — many of them speeding, intoxicated, or both — to lose control of their cars and smash into parked vehicles, or other motorists. Not that citizens need to prove their case. According to the Manhattan Times, a weekly paper covering the two Northern Manhattan neighborhoods, Broadway at Dongan has been the site of 13 crashes this year. Informal neighborhood accounts have raised the total to 15 since the paper published that figure less than one week ago.

In July, off-duty NYPD officer Felix Alexander was struck by a drunk driver who crossed Broadway’s center line near the Dongan intersection. Alexander, who was driving a motorcycle, died at the scene. In August, a vehicle left the roadway in the curve, demolishing a newly installed bus stop shelter.

At last week’s CB 12 committee meeting, DOT Deputy Borough Commissioner Maurice Bruet promised his agency would explore safety measures, but said options were limited. Speed bumps are out, because Broadway is a snow, truck and bus route; speed cameras are controversial and require approval from state legislators; and signage and lights can be a liability, Bruet said.

Bruet indicated the problem may be one of enforcement, rather than infrastructure. Committee Chair Mark Levine agrees. The 34th Precinct was invited to the committee meeting, but no one came.

"As Chair of Traffic and Transportation my first instinct is to look for ways we can change signage and signaling at the Broadway/Dongan curve to better alert drivers and slow down traffic. But even the best signs, speed limits, and traffic lights in the world are useless when driver chooses to ignore them or, even worse, drive intoxicated," Levine told Streetsblog in an e-mail message. "So we invited the 34th precinct to send a representative to our meeting last week to speak on how additional police can be deployed in the area to improve enforcement. Since they unfortunately didn’t show I’ve encouraged residents to go directly the 34th Precinct."

That’s what they plan to do on September 26, when the precinct will hold a regular community meeting.

The Manhattan Times reports that 34th Precinct Lieutenant Christopher Lopresti says police and DOT will collaborate to "determine if problems should be solved through enforcement or infrastructure changes."

Photo: Brad Aaron

  • I ride my bicycle on this stretch of Broadway as part of my daily commute. The Inwood stretch of Bway is in pretty terrible condition as far as the pavement is concerned. There are massive tumor-like bumps in the asphalt, mostly in the right lane (I think this is due to the weight of the buses as they move side to side to pick up and drop off passengers). To make matters worse, there are often livery cabs double parked around that area for no good reason.

  • lee

    yea i drove through here recently and almost had an accident. the pavement is terrible and the sight distances are poor.

  • Courtney Turay

    The residents of this area are meeting THIS Sunday, Sept 23, at 7pm in the lobby of 4700 Broadway to get organized for the precinct meeting which will be this Wednesday. We are trying to get as many people as possible to attend Sunday night and again on Wednesday.
    Please join us as we rally to get some serious changes made for the betterment of our neighborhood.

  • Jennifer

    The Curve Problem is long overdue to be corrected. I have personally lost 3 cars due to the curve which were completely smashed because of drunk drivers. Last year being the best crash. The drunk driver came around the curve going north loosing control into the park cars going south. He managed to put my car on the sidewalk next to the benches,demolished the car behind mine and drove away to smash into two more parked cars. Then hit a light pole and passed out!!
    I wonder what it will take for the city officials to do something. WE already lost a innocent police officer who’s unborn child at the time of his death will grow up without a father.
    Maybe instead of ripping up the sidewalks this week and repaving them or putting up new fancy bus stops. They could use the cash to reprogram the lights so every other corner you must stop at a red. Even the buses do 50 mph on the curve.

  • Courtney Turay

    Join your neighbors and have your voice be heard:

    34th Precinct Community Council Meeting
    4295 Broadway (183rd St)

    Sept 26, 2007 (THIS WEDNESDAY)



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