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Manhattan Community Boards Want to Fix 57 Dangerous Places for Peds

2:56 PM EST on January 31, 2014

Yesterday, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer compiled a list of 57 pedestrian danger hotspots identified by community board district managers and sent it to city agency heads serving on Mayor de Blasio's Vision Zero task force. Many of the locations in Brewer's list have a long track record as dangerous locations, including many where people have died crossing the street.

Photo: Camila Schaulsohn/AIA-NY
Photo: Camila Schaulsohn/AIA-NY

"It’s essential that the proper resources be dedicated to implementation and enforcement" of safety fixes at these and other locations, Brewer wrote in her letter to Police Commissioner Bill Bratton and Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg [PDF]. "This list is not meant to be exhaustive or definitive... but represents community input to help inform the Task Force."

The mayor's Vision Zero task force is charged with coming up with a strategy by February 15 to eliminate traffic fatalities within a decade. It includes the police, transportation, health and taxi commissioners.

In her letter, Brewer also said that district managers wanted more comprehensive and uniform crash data from DOT and NYPD so they could be better informed about pedestrian safety needs in their neighborhoods. "Many advocates have expressed frustration with the way that NYPD has historically published many datasets in static, PDF formats," she wrote. As a council member, Brewer led the push for city agencies to release easily-accessible data. "I would urge NYPD and all City agencies to publish real-time data in open, machine- readable formats, such as CSV or Excel."

The locations identified by district managers [PDF] were chosen for a number of reasons, including a history of fatalities or injuries, confusing design or signal timing, wide crossing distances and insufficient crossing times, high volumes of turning drivers, and lack of traffic enforcement.

Brewer requested three locations from each district manager. Some replied with only one location in need of pedestrian safety improvements, while others listed as many as 15 intersections and streets. At some of the locations, DOT has not proposed safety enhancements. At others, plans are awaiting community board support or have already been installed.

A couple of these locations have been the site of NYPD traffic enforcement operations, including some against pedestrians, but most are not known to have already been targeted by police.

Yesterday, Streetsblog reported requests from CB 11 in East Harlem and CB 12 in Upper Manhattan. In addition, CB 7 on the Upper West Side requested fixes at West 96th Street and Broadway, a site that DOT addressed with a safety proposal at a meeting last night.

CB 2's requests included West Houston Street and 6th Avenue, where Jessica Dworkin was killed crossing the street by a turning truck driver, and 7th Avenue South at Carmine, Varick and Clarkson Streets, where the board voted a year ago to support curb extensions and other measures.

Community Board 9 had only one request: Morningside Avenue at 124th Street. CB 10 also highlighted Morningside, particularly near PS 180 at 120th Street, as well as Hancock Place, which lies outside the board's boundaries. CB 9 has voted for a DOT safety proposal for this area, but the agency is drafting a second plan after CB 10 refused to support it.

Among other locations, CB 10 also identified Mount Morris Park West as a street in need of pedestrian safety improvements, despite members of the board regularly railing against traffic calming that DOT installed in response to requests from a neighborhood association.

On the Upper East Side, CB 8 asked for changes to the intersection of East 60th and 3rd Avenue, where DOT has proposed painted curb extensions following the death of 16-year-old Renee Thompson, as well as safety improvements on traffic-choked streets leading to the Queensboro Bridge.

In response to Brewer's request, City Hall spokesperson Marti Adams said, “We are grateful to Borough President Brewer and Manhattan communities for their commitment to safer streets. Their proposals will be closely reviewed by the Vision Zero Working Group.”

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