Eyes on the Street: West End Avenue Gets Its Road Diet

West End Avenue at 85th Street. Photo: John Simpson
West End Avenue at 85th Street. Photo: John Simpson

After Cooper Stock and Jean Chambers were killed in West End Avenue crosswalks by turning drivers earlier this year, DOT unveiled a 35-block road diet for the dangerous Upper West Side street. Now, the plan is on the ground, and pedestrian islands are set to be installed within a month.

The redesign is a standard four- to three-lane road diet, slimming from two lanes in each direction to one lane per direction with center turn lanes. Bike lanes not included.

Streetsblog reader John Simpson sent in photos of the new street design on the ground between 85th and 86th Streets. The repaving and striping appears to be mostly complete.

Concrete pedestrian refuge islands are planned for 72nd, 79th, 95th, and 97th Streets. On Tuesday, DOT staff told the Manhattan Community Board 7 transportation committee that islands will be installed at 95th and 97th Streets “within the month,” reports Emily Frost at DNAinfo. Islands at 72nd and 79th were added to the plan after complaints that the project didn’t include enough of them. Update: DOT says a pedestrian island at 72nd Street will be installed next year, while neckdowns will be built at 79th Street in the coming months as part of a Safe Routes to School program.

West End Avenue at 86th Street. Photo: John Simpson
West End Avenue at 86th Street. Photo: John Simpson

Some area residents say heavy traffic at 96th Street, primarily drivers going to the Henry Hudson Parkway, continue to pose a threat. At Tuesday’s meeting, one neighborhood mom requested NYPD officers at the location to direct traffic and ensure safe passage for pedestrians, Frost reports.

The new configuration on West End Avenue features an extra-wide parking lane, large enough to give more breathing room to cyclists or provide a space for double-parked cars. DOT has defended the layout, saying actual bike lanes might be installed later once people get used to the calmer street design.

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