Inwoodites Promised Rehab of Dilapidated 215th Step-Street


Here’s a dispatch from one of New York’s little-known pedestrian-only streets. Residents of Inwood may see a decade of lobbying pay off over the next year, as the city last week announced the upcoming rehabilitation of the hazardous 215th Step-Street, a block-long staircase connecting Broadway to residential blocks at the northern tip of the neighborhood, along with Isham Park and Inwood Hill Park.

Hilly Northern Manhattan is dotted with step-streets in varying stages of repair, as are the Bronx and areas of Staten Island and Brooklyn. As explained by Forgotten New York, step-streets "were placed on hills that were too steep to build a road, yet in a rare concession to pedestrians, it was determined to allow them access to the streets denied to motor transportation."

Step-streets are maintained by DOT. According to Mark Levine, chair of Community Board 12’s Traffic and Transportation Committee (and likely challenger to Denny Farrell for Robert Jackson’s term-limited City Council seat), Northern Manhattanites have been asking the city to rebuild the 215th staircase since at least 1999. Writes Levine on his blog:

The stairs have crumbled and cracked with age. Landings
have poor drainage and routinely flood, creating hazardous conditions
which only worsen in winter when the pools of water turn to ice. Many of the pre-WWII era lamps are broken, leaving stretches of the steps in darkness at night. Hand railings are only partially usable.

Calls for repairs were renewed last year when an Inwood woman tripped on a hole in the stairs, cutting her legs and face. She was carried away by ambulance.

On Monday, August 18, DOT officials joined Assembly Member Adriano Espaillat at the foot of the staircase to announce the reconstruction project, which Espaillat’s office tells Streetsblog will be completed next year — though Levine notes a similar photo op took place in 2005.

Photo: Brad Aaron


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Over a decade after the project’s first expected delivery date, the reconstruction of Inwood’s 215th Step-Street is complete. West 215th Street crosses the width of Manhattan island’s northernmost neighborhood, from Inwood Hill Park to the Harlem River. Between Park Terrace East and Broadway, W. 215 is a step-street — one of many car-free street segments in Upper Manhattan and other parts of […]

Renovation of Crumbling, Dangerous 215th Step-Street Delayed [Updated]

Residents of Inwood were excited by last year’s news that the 215th Step-Street — a block-long staircase linking Broadway to residential blocks in the northern reaches of the neighborhood — would soon be receiving a long-awaited rehab. But officials announced last week that the project will again be delayed. The 215th Step-Street: still broken. Photo: […]

City Says Decrepit Inwood Step-Street on Track for Rehab

It was supposed to happen circa 2005. Then in 2009. Now the city says the restoration of a crumbling block-long staircase that serves as a pedestrian-only street in Inwood will be finished by summer 2013. The 215th Step-Street connects Broadway to residential blocks at Inwood’s northern end. For years its cracked stairs and broken lamps […]