Community Board 3 Approves Delancey Street Safety Improvements

Image: NYC DOT

Manhattan Community Board 3 signed off on a package of safety improvements for deadly Delancey Street Tuesday night, according to State Senator Daniel Squadron’s office. The plan, presented by NYC DOT in February, narrows the crossing distance at 14 out of 19 intersections between the Williamsburg Bridge and the Bowery, but doesn’t substantially alter signal timing or traffic lanes heading to and from the bridge. It’s the low-hanging fruit to prevent deaths and injuries on a street that sees a horrific amount of carnage.

Every year, dozens of pedestrians and cyclists are injured or killed on Delancey — 134 between 2008 and 2010 alone, according to Transportation Alternatives. In the past year, drivers on Delancey took the lives of pedestrians Dashane Santana and Patricia Cuevas and cyclist Jeffrey Axelrod.

Since last September a coalition of elected officials, community groups, and advocates under the umbrella of the Delancey Street Safety Working Group have been pushing for changes. Squadron’s office, which convened the working group, said work on the safety improvements is expected to begin in June.

“Our work doesn’t end here,” Squadron said in the statement, “and our working group will continue to study and improve Delancey and its surrounding streets to prevent future tragedies and protect pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers.”

  • Clarke

    It actually is (or was as of the February proposal), removing the “service lane” on the south side between Norfolk and Clinton streets, as well as some of the “is-it-or-isn’t-it” half-lanes on the north side of the street. Not exactly full lane removal, but not nothing either.

  • @9d09155ec93b2956f9a187fc183dc5b7:disqus Thanks for noting that — I amended the lede graf to be more specific.

  • J

    This is a good start, but it is still a pretty timid approach, given the crazy high rates of crashes there and the broad political support for improvements. With the plan, some of the half lanes that Clarke notes remain for the block between Christie & Forsyth for some unknown reason. Also, while DOT only has 3 westbound lanes coming onto Delancey from the bridge (which is great), they immediately add back a fourth lane, west of Clinton. I’m not sure why this was done. Overall a good start, but Ben is correct, to truly reduce the danger on this stretch, you have to squeeze capacity, so cars can’t speed. Accommodating rush hour traffic inherently leads to designs that encourage speeding during all other times, which result in injury and death. The choices we make at this location show what we value as a society, rush hour car movement or human life.

  • Ben from Bed Stuy

    What do we have to do to get a real protected lane against the median going all the way cross town? That would be the super safe super simple treatment that would save the lives of cyclists.

  • This reminds me why street design is important. How small things like bumpouts and narrowing crossing distances by a few feet might be able to save lives.

  • Mike

    Sadly, without NYPD speed limit and general traffic law enforcement, these are markedly less effective than they could be.


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