Skip to Content
Streetsblog New York City home
Streetsblog New York City home
Log In

Port Authority Decides Church and Vesey Doesn’t Need Safety Specialists

Church and Vesey is one of the most crowded and busy intersections in the city. With about 15,000 people walking across Church during peak weekday hours, the foot traffic is heavier there than anywhere in Times Square. A recent decision by the Port Authority could jeopardize those pedestrians starting this Friday.

ped_managers.jpgIt ain't pretty, but it works. Certified ped managers at the corner of Vesey and Church, which sees huge volumes of pedestrian traffic. Photo: Broadsheet Daily/Teresa Loeb Kreuzer

In a vote two weeks ago, the board opted to skimp on safety by hiring security firm Allied Barton to manage pedestrian movement at Church and Vesey. Security personnel with no formal training in pedestrian management will be replacing workers certified by the American Traffic Safety Services Association who've successfully kept people safe as construction near the World Trade Center site increases the potential for conflicts.

"With traffic down there only slated to increase with more intense construction, pedestrians will be put at unacceptable risk without certified ped managers there to stop traffic and shepherd folks," said Transportation Alternatives director Paul Steely White.

Currently, pedestrian managers with Sam Schwartz Engineering handle
the intersection, using yellow chains to stop people from crossing against the light. While this isn't the type of traffic
control that we tend to get excited about here at Streetsblog, the
fact is that the pedestrian managers have a proven safety record. Since they started in 2008, 60 million people have crossed without incident, according to Schwartz.

Certified pedestrian managers receive training in how to handle different signal phases, coordinate movements of traffic and pedestrians, and deal with pedestrian behavior, Schwartz said. When the Battery Park City Authority was looking to staff intersections with crossing guards earlier this year, Schwartz said, they chose his firm because it offered the lowest qualified bid, with crossing guards all professionally certified. The Port Authority simply went with the lowest bidder, Allied Barton.

The Port Authority has not returned requests for comment on this story.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog New York City

Vandals Commit Mass Arborcide Near the Greenway in Kissena Park

Hundreds of young trees were ripped from the ground — some stolen, some just left for dead — near the greenway in Kissena Park in Queens.

April 14, 2024

Friday’s Headlines: The Polk’s on Us Edition

This afternoon, our reporter Jesse Coburn will journey to Midtown to accept Streetsblog's first George Polk Award, one of journalism's highest honors. But before that, here's the news.

April 12, 2024

Op-Ed: Police Placard Corruption Report Was Weak, Disappointing … and Completely Expected

The Department of Investigations clearly had ample evidence of crimes and serious violations, yet its report lets everyone off the hook.

April 12, 2024

City Unveils Design for Long-Decrepit East Harlem Greenway

Nearly two dozen blocks of crumbling greenway along the Harlem River are slated for a revamp in 2025.

April 12, 2024

Thursday’s Headlines: Bike Lanes are Good for Business Edition

A business owner testifies from the heart (and wallet). Plus other news.

April 11, 2024
See all posts