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

Tonight: Tell Manhattan CBs That Harlem Needs a Safer Morningside Avenue

The DOT plan for a safer Morningside Avenue is similar to treatments already in place in Harlem and the Bronx. Image: DOT

Community Boards 9 and 10 in Harlem will again hear from DOT tonight on a plan to calm traffic on Morningside Avenue [PDF]. The proposal was developed in response to a request from the North Star Neighborhood Association, and though there is general agreement that speeding drivers are a major problem on Morningside, the community boards have so far failed to endorse the city's plan to make the street safer.

City Council Democratic primary winner Mark Levine wants the boards to move forward with the proposal, but as usual Council Member Inez Dickens, whose neighboring district encompasses most of the project area, has not indicated her support.

The plan would revamp Morningside from 116th Street to 126th Street from two lanes in each direction to a narrower single lane in each direction, with a center striped median, concrete pedestrian islands and left turn lanes. Parking lanes on each side would be widened, allowing space for cyclists and double-parked drivers. At entrances to Morningside Park, on the west side of the avenue, DOT has proposed painted curb extensions in the parking lane. The proposal does not include bike lanes.

The plan resembles existing traffic-calming measures on Macombs Road in the Bronx and on St. Nicholas Avenue in Harlem, and has some similarities to the plan for Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard.

DOT presented the proposal in September to the transportation committees of both boards. The CB 10 committee, which has a history of inaction and opposition when it comes to livable streets projects, asked DOT for more data. CB 9 voted 18-15 to table the project, according to The Uptowner. Board members said the proposal needed more vetting, despite committee meetings and positive comments from the public.

Which brings us to tonight's forum, where DOT will again present its plan and answer questions.

"I don't think there's much objection to the substance of the proposal," says Levine. "The more I talk to people, the more they think it's a good idea."

Levine expects a CB 9 vote from the full board soon. "It would really send a powerful message to DOT if we got affirmative votes on both boards," he said.

Dickens staffer Lermond Mayes has said the council member is supportive of traffic-calming on Morningside, but she has not signaled approval of the DOT plan. "We haven’t exactly seen how effective it will be,” Mayes told Streetsblog last month. Mayes said other traffic-calming measures in Harlem have caused congestion. "You also end up creating obstructions to traffic flow," he said. "To hear from her boards is very helpful."

Levine is optimistic, but said he wants action before Mayor Bloomberg leaves office. "It's possible the plan could be shelved, or we could go back to square one," he said, "and I don't think anybody wants that."

A strong turnout tonight would show community board members that the public wants a safer Morningside Avenue. The forum is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at The Fortune Society, 630 Riverside Drive.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog New York City

MTA’s Demotes OMNY Contractor Cubic In Hopes of Speeding Up Commuter Rail Fare Integration

Officials are giving up on Cubic's delayed plans to bring Metro-North and the LIRR into the OMNY-verse.

May 20, 2024

Microtranist Is Taxpayer Funded Uber, Advocates Warn — And It’s a Threat to Real Transit

American cities are falling for the "false promise" of microtransit, a top transportation union argues — and we're all going to be the ones who pay for it.

May 20, 2024

Monday’s Headlines: Road Safety is No Accident Edition

There were two big stories over the weekend — and both were about street safety. Plus other news.

May 20, 2024

Garbage Company Involved in Fatal Crash Will Ply Streets of Eastern Queens, Too

The private garbage company whose truck driver struck and killed a Manhattan pedestrian on Thursday according to police has won the right to pick up trash in a wide swath of Southeast Queens, raising concern for safety there.

May 17, 2024

Friday’s Headlines: Fleet Week Edition

Some good news about the city fleet. Plus other news from a busy day.

May 17, 2024
See all posts