Eyes on the Street: Behold the Beauty of a Bare Pedestrian Mall


Here’s a shot of the Park Avenue pedestrian mall at 88th Street, taken by reader BicyclesOnly last night. Thanks to sheer luck, it appears as though no one was caught between the car and the light pole. 

A few well-placed bollards could reduce the element of chance here. But recall that back in early 2007, Manhattan Community Board 8 deemed physical protection of these ped refuges too unsightly to support. Lately, CB8 has shown more of an open mind toward street safety measures. Maybe it’s time to bring this idea to their attention again.

  • It’s just crazy that people are put into the middle of what is essentially a two-way 6 lane highway with no protection. Fire hydrants get more protection than pedestrians standing in the middle of Park Avenue.

    BTW – the pooper-scooper sign adds a nice touch of class to Park Ave. Mall.

  • vnm

    The CB8 transpo committee meeting is tonight. There’s a chance to bring this up if anyone is going.

  • There are well-placed bollards for fire hydrants, street signs, all types of stuff. Pure negligence they do not exist where people are in harms way.

  • Ian Turner

    Gecko: Not pure negligence, the art commission actively stands in the way of bollards when used to protect people.

  • MrManhattan

    All the Mega-SUVs coming from the rear entrance of the Four Seasons make Park and 58th a demolition derby. I’m surprised this doesn’t happen more often.

  • Randolph & Mortimer Duke

    Egad, man, people have legs — they can move out of the way. Why would anyone walk across Park Avenue, anyway — wouldn’t they just have the car brought ’round?

  • What prompted my original effort on this issue was seeing a picture of cab crashed into the protective barrier on Broadway.


    The quote in the Columbia Spectator from a police detective sticks in the mind and serves as a warning for the future.

    “That wall is the only thing that kept the taxi driver from killing any pedestrians,” Detective Bob Winton said. “He was traveling at 40 or 50 miles per hour-anyone crossing the street would have been killed.”

    I will be very upset the day that I read that a family was taken out by a SUV on one of those medians. It will happen, it’s just a matter of time.

  • Ian Turner

    Re: Randolph & Mortimer Duke

    I give this troll 1 out of 5 stars. Please try harder next time.


    Ian Turner

  • J. Mork

    I think it’s more of a parody than a troll. Or something. Google for the authors should elucidate somewhat.

  • MrManhattan

    “It was the Dukes, It was the Dukes!”

    Possibly one of my favorite Eddie Murphy lines ever.

  • Seems like there’s a lot of cars on the road for a pedestrian mall. Or does pedestrian mall mean something different in NY?

  • BicyclesOnly

    “Pedestrian mall” is not the best term for the landscaped medians that separate the north- from the south-bound roadways of Park Ave. south of 97th St., except perhaps when used in the historical sense. Decades ago (as shown in the links to the post), Park Avenue consisted of a single lane of traffic in each direction, with a generous, pedestrian-accessible lanscaped area in the middle–pedestrian malls. Now, there are three lanes of traffic in each direction with a narrow lanscaped strip in the middle that (except for a 6′ X 14′ paved pedestrian refuuge area where each of the intersecting streets cross Park, as depicted in the crash photo) are forbidden to pedestrians. (Although I have noticed that a number of Park Avenue residents nonetheless feel entitled to use these areas to walk their dogs without cleaning up).

    The maintenance and planting of the landscaped, no-pedestrian areas of the malls is paid for and controlled largely by nonprofit organizations like Carnegie Hill neighbors. Lavish seasonal plantings such as tulips, impatiens, and many other varieties are installed every 2 months or so, and 2 large evergreens with Christmas lights are erected at each intersection, each winter. By pouring so much money into these malls, these nonprofits have gained an effective veto over any safety improvements that arguably detract aethetically from the “iconic” appearance of Park Ave., such as bollards–regardless of design–that could protect the pedestrian refuge area, or (God forbid) installation of bike lanes or traffic lane reductions. So these malls do not appear likely to revert to “pedestrian” malls anytime soon.


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