Upper West Siders: What Would You Fix?

In the first of many shorts we will present over consecutive days, The Open Planning Project’s Executive Director Mark Gorton tours the streets of the Upper West Side with neighbor Lisa Sladkus pointing out problems in advance of the November 6 Streets Renaissance Workshop with Jan Gehl. Today’s topic is: Double Parking.

Parking policy is one of the biggest challenges that faces New York City and the rest of the U.S. In this related StreetFilm, Donald Shoup explains how responsible pricing can solve the woes of double parking and pollution, while raising revenues that can be re-invested in communities.

  • Gargamel Tralfaz

    I’d take back a lane or two on Amsterdam and make it people space.

  • NewYawker

    Fix? get rid of the overwhelming number of annoying people that live there?

  • Mark Fleischmann

    As I’ve mentioned before, the number of UWS resident drivers has increased markedly over the past 30 years, as affluent people have moved in, leading to more congestion and pollution. So the goal should be to persuade Upper West Siders to give up their cars. The best way to do that is to close a substantial percentage of the parking garages and convert on-street parking space into bus and bike lanes. If they have no place to park their cars, they will not want to own cars. Also, traffic signals at major intersections should be changed to give pedestrians more time to cross the street — that would reduce speed, calm traffic, and give drivers another reason not to drive. Streets in a densely populated neighborhood should not operate like high-speed highways.

  • Ian Turner


    Reducing parking will make it so that fewer people are /able/ to own a car, but will do nothing to reduce the number of people who /want/ to own a car. If anything, increasing the cost of car ownership will make it more glamorous/desirable, not less.

    Which is not to say that I disagree — in fact, I think we are all in agreement about these basic yet seemingly controversial changes.

  • Spud Spudly

    In a nutshell:

    * Residential parking permits
    * Mandatory taxi stands (no trolling for customers)
    * More of those great sidewalk extensions like they have where 94th crosses Columbus
    * Better management of truck delivery schedules
    * And smaller cabs — NO MORE CROWN VIC TAXIS!

  • Angus Grieve-Smith

    As a former Upper West Sider who visits regularly, I think the worst pedestrian situation is West End Avenue. It’s got these great wide sidewalks, but the DOT times the lights to make it into a speedway. I always feel uncomfortable crossing that street, more so than any other street in the neighborhood.

    As I wrote in a previous thread, the 79th Street entrance to Riverside park practically thunders at pedestrians, “I AM FOR IMPORTANT CARS. YOU ARE NOT WORTHY. RUN ALONG INTO YOUR LITTLE HOLE.” I’d like to see something done about that.

    The appropriation of sidewalk space for car uses is bad around the police precincts and especially near the parking garages and car rental agencies on the blocks east of Broadway.

    Some of the sidewalks, especially on Columbus and Broadway in the 70s and 80s, are in high demand, in part because of sidewalk cafes, street vendors and, well, Fairway. As far as I’m concerned, when a restaurant has a “sidewalk cafe” that’s enclosed ten months of the year, isn’t that just a low-rent addition? Is that appropriate on blocks where there’s so much pedestrian congestion? The only value I can see is that they get more light. That said, I’d rather widen the sidewalks than force cafe owners to give them up.

    Finally, this is not Jan Gehl’s area, but why doesn’t the M86 go all the way to Riverside Drive? It’d be a heck of a lot more useful.


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In NYC’s current affordable housing shortage, every square foot counts. With that in mind, the city announced plans earlier this year to relinquish three parking garages it owns on West 108th Street to make way for 280 units of new housing, all of which would be reserved for people earning less than the average income in the area. Naturally, hysteria ensued. Since […]

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The Department of Transportation has completed a multi-year transportation study of the Upper West Side, and Wednesday night the agency walked local residents through the many proposed changes [PDF]. The suggestions for the area between 55th and 86th Streets, west of Central Park, include a number of valuable intersection-level improvements to pedestrian safety, but left […]