Eyes on the Street: Seventh Avenue Gets a Bit More Pedestrian Space

Pedestrians have a bit more breathing room, and a head start on turning drivers, at Seventh Avenue South and W. 4th Street.
Pedestrians have a bit more breathing room, and a head start on turning drivers — but not a full plaza as initially proposed — at Seventh Avenue South and W. 4th Street. Photo: Stephen Miller

Pedestrians have a little more room to navigate the complex intersection of Seventh Avenue South and W. 4th Street in the West Village.

The intersection now has a dedicated left turn lane for drivers going from Seventh Avenue South to W. 4th Street. The traffic signal gives pedestrians a head start and holds turning traffic before giving drivers a flashing yellow arrow indicating that they can proceed after yielding to people in the crosswalk [PDF].

The plan adds pedestrian space, but less than an earlier version that would have created a plaza on one block of W. 4th Street. Image: DOT [PDF]
The plan adds pedestrian space, but less than an earlier version that featured a plaza on a block of W. 4th Street. Image: DOT [PDF]
Curb extensions are also being painted at six corners near the intersection, shortening crossing distances for pedestrians. The largest is on Seventh Avenue South between Christopher and Grove streets, providing more space for pedestrians at the entrance to the Christopher Street subway station.

The Seventh Avenue South Alliance has signed on as a maintenance partner for the space, DOT said. Completion is set for late fall.

DOT had initially proposed creating a full-size plaza on W. 4th Street between Christopher and Grove streets, but CB 2 members objected over fears it would inhibit truck deliveries and increase traffic on other side streets. The department then proposed the turn lane option instead.

The intersection is just north of where Seventh Avenue South crosses Bleecker Street. DOT added a similar treatment there in 2012, including a dedicated turn lane and leading pedestrian interval followed by a flashing yellow arrow for turning drivers [PDF].

Last year, CB 2 asked DOT to study a complete streets treatment for the length of Seventh Avenue South, including a protected bike lane. DOT has yet to propose a protected bike lane for Seventh Avenue South.

  • So happy to see this – I walk through that intersection all the time. 🙂

  • Mesozoic Polk

    The bulbouts are pesky, but innocent enough. But what a relief that the all-wise, never-erring Community Board prevailed to defeat the plaza proposed for West 4 St between Christopher and Grove. It is abundantly clear to all the true traffic experts in the room — referring of course to neighborhood residents, not the amateurs that staff DOT — that denying motor vehicles access to this critically important 90-foot stretch of pavement would bring literally all traffic on the island, from Inwood to the Battery, to even more of a standstill than it already is. We applaud neighborhood residents and the CB for showing DOT who’s the boss and keeping an eye out for poor drivers, who otherwise have access to only a paltry 99.7% of total street space.

  • Miles Bader

    Because as we all know, truck deliveries are what really matter, and the overriding goal of any good government is to optimize truck deliveries.

  • My corner is one of the more dangerous in NYC. Can’t remember how many times I’ve woken up Saturday mornings to find whatever used to be standing at Seventh & West 4th (lamppost, telephone pole, telephone booth or newsstand) downed by some drunk driver the night before. Even during weekdays, esp. if I have my dogs, I wait safely at the opposite end of the island until the light changes. Let’s hope this makes it a bit safer.

  • Seth Rosenblum

    I may be an eternal optimist, but…despite the lack of a pedestrian plaza the revised proposal is way better than the original. Only 3 lanes of through-traffic down 7th avenue, and bump-outs from both sides for some super-short crossing distances. I frequent this intersection a lot, and the only other wish I’d have is a bump-out across Christopher on the west-side of the intersection (from the south).

    Given the new yield behavior, w 4th between 7th and 6th would now make a great candidate for a “mixed-use” street.

  • c2check

    Yeah, there are a lot of really redundant a street sections around here. I’m disappointed this doesn’t show any changes to them.

  • BBnet3000

    If you buy things, you need trucks to deliver them. That said, don’t fall for this red herring. It’s really about parking for private cars, which is the primary thing making it hard for trucks to make deliveries today.

  • Miles Bader

    If you buy things, you need trucks to deliver them.

    Indeed, but (ignoring the red-herring just for the sake of argument) making things less convenient for truck deliveries doesn’t mean deliveries suddenly become impossible. Maybe the delivery trucks would have to take a somewhat longer route, drive a little slower, or whatever, but in the end stuff would still get delivered.

    This isn’t hard to see, as there are many places around the world with tons of stores in pedestrian-only spaces, and they use a variety of methods to get stuff delivered. Sometimes delivery trucks can drive [slowly] onto the pedestrian space in the early morning, sometimes they have to offload stuff onto carts to move them from the truck to the store, etc.

    [But yeah, I agree with you, I’m sure their real reasons are more craven and selfish.]

  • J

    “Last year, CB 2 asked DOT to study a complete streets treatment for the length of Seventh Avenue South, including a protected bike lane. DOT has yet to propose a protected bike lane for Seventh Avenue South.”

    Seems like DOT doesn’t want to do protected bike lanes. Other cities would kill for that kind of proactive support, but this DOT seems to simply shrug its shoulders. It’s 2015, 8 years after the first protected bike lane was installed and there’s still no plan for a network of protected bike lanes. This is pitiful.

  • stairbob


  • Bernard Finucane

    I guess that explains why all the stores in the Munich pedestrian zone are totally empty, and the residents are starving.


    Desperate times.

  • BBnet3000

    I guess that explains why all the stores in the Munich pedestrian zone are totally empty, and the residents are starving.

    All the curb space on the perpendicular streets adjacent to the Kaufingerstraase are orange-lined loading zones, which is exactly what I am advocating here.

  • WoodyinNYC

    How many parking spaces can fit on this short section of W 4th between Christopher and Grove? Maybe 8, or 10 if the cars are small?

    A plaza would fit beautifully between the little park and the BUSY subway entrance. Looks like it could also be a great place to install an elevator. (I know, NOT cheap, and all transit money is going to the Tappenzee Bridge). Still, this is a busy station in a popular neighborhood. It would help many users if it became accessible.

  • WoodyinNYC

    Some larger stores are block-thru, a few back onto alleys, so the back entrance can get the deliveries. We don’t have that many block-thru spaces yet. (Some on 34th St., tho, Macy’s, K-Mart, H&M, the shoe store in the once-Woolworths space, and others). If front-door delivery became inconvenient, many retail spaces could be reconfigured over time to allow back-door deliveries.

    Of course, as others have pointed out, side-street unloading can work pretty well, along with deliveries before, say, 8 a.m.

    Here and now I advocate more half-closings, like the section of Broadway between 42nd and 35th. Two or three lanes become plaza space. The remaining narrowed lanes are traffic-calmed, and thru traffic goes away because it must turn off Broadway at 35th, part of the full plaza at Herald Square. Opposition is defused because the half-plazas still allow easy access to buses, trucks, taxies, even private cars. Meanwhile the street seems very safe for bicycles.

  • Bernard Finucane

    Another idea is having delivery hours, usually before stores open, when delivery vans are allowed into the pedestrian zone.

  • Alexander Vucelic

    Munich, typically allows deliveries before 10am and After 10pm on The outer pedestrian zones.

    it’s actually Amazing to see Trucks going 2-3mph before 10am and unloading right in Front of a shop in The middle of a pedestrian Zone. Not 1000% perfect but Works perfectly fine.


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