DOT Slow-Turn Treatments Are Like Sneckdowns That Never Melt


Barring a springtime snow storm, sneckdown season is over. In this Streetfilm, Clarence Eckerson Jr. shows how DOT is following nature’s lead with inexpensive and effective treatments that slow driver turns — and remain in place year-round.

Last year DOT began installing ”slow turn boxes” — curb extensions made from flex-posts and paint — at intersections where turning motorists injure a lot of people walking. DNAinfo reported that a pilot program will bring the boxes to 100 intersections citywide.

Watch how the turn boxes, and other low-cost neckdowns, are improving visibility and getting motorists to slow down.

  • Is there any other major city that allows cars to park at the crosswalk like NYC does?

  • What is a “neckdown”? A neckdown is a sneckdown without the snow.

    “Sneckdown” – “snow” = neckdown

  • Reader

    Great program, but 100 intersections is nothing. Needs to be 100,000. The city needs to work faster.

  • Jeff

    That’s not the point of a pilot program. 100 intersections is so they can evaluate how this treatment works, and what, if anything, they need to tweak before they roll it out on a larger scale.

  • Reader

    I get that. You could pilot these things for a week or a month and then expand it, but something tells me that the city will take a lot more time than that.

    Also: these things work in nearly every place they’re installed around the world. We don’t need so much studying and pilot programs. Sometimes people can just decide to do sh*t that saves lives.

    Isn’t it strange how they rarely have to “pilot” stuff for drivers?

  • I think the experiment in this case is about the materials, not the geometry. Do these things still work after 6 months or do they get obliterated?

  • Reader

    I’ve already seen a few get obliterated, either from careless drivers or snowplows. But that’s not surprising. Question is if DOT can figure out a system to replace them quickly, much like a faded crosswalk or bike lane.

  • qrt145

    What these neckdowns need is to have sharks with frickin’ laser beams attached to their heads!

  • Vooch

    I want JSK back !

  • Sadly, I think all cities do. I see it everywhere I go. It is just worse in NYC because we have MORE intersections.

  • The slow turn boxes are great. I have now seen even more. Eventually these can all get solid curb extensions as each road comes up for review, repaving or re-construction. It is a long battle but this is a good start.

  • Brian Howald

    It’s actually prohibited by NYS law (20 feet minimum), but the city has authority to supersede that VTL regulation with its own rule.

    Walking through Los Angeles today, I noticed that there is no parking within 15 feet of intersections. As much as I despise parking up against crosswalks, I’ve long thought (without any hard evidence) that increased visibility of intersections through daylighting emboldens drivers to approach intersections at higher speeds when not coupled with other traffic calming features like bulb-outs.

  • great movie as usual. I think the sneck down is a great tool for cars turning from one way street to one way street .
    Unfortunately DOT has installed one on the turn west from 8th Avnue to 57th street, which makes no sense since the cars already had to make a very wide turn to get on the westbound lanes.
    Most of the 250 priority intersections in the Vision Zero Pedestrian plan include a two- way streets and for those split phase signals are state of the art safety measure .



Sometimes #Sneckdown Dreams Come True!

Ah yes, that’s the now-famous “Snowy Neckdown Redux: Winter Traffic Calming” Streetfilm above. As you may recall, I shot the video in my Queens neighborhood of Jackson Heights a few years ago to demonstrate how we could extend our curbs further into the streets to slow drivers and shorten pedestrian crossing distances. Then the idea completely […]

The Missing Piece in DOT’s Left-Turn Safety Plan: Real Split-Phase Signals

Split-phase traffic signals protect pedestrians and cyclists by separating them from turning drivers — people walking and biking across the street get their own signal phase, and drivers turning into the crosswalk get another. Research indicates that split-phase signals are highly effective at preventing traffic injuries and deaths. But when DOT revealed its strategy to reduce crashes caused by left-turning […]

NYC Will Expand 20 MPH Zones to 13 Neighborhoods, With More to Come

Following the launch of the city’s first 20 mph zone in the Claremont section of the Bronx last year, NYC DOT has selected 13 more areas to receive the “slow zone” treatment (see the full list), Mayor Michael Bloomberg and DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan announced this afternoon. DOT was inundated with applications for slow zones […]

DOT Lays Out a Strategy to Make Left Turns Less Dangerous

DOT will be ramping up the use of intersection treatments to protect pedestrians and cyclists from left-turning drivers, the agency announced today. The initiative is paired with a DOT study, “Don’t Cut Corners” [PDF], that illustrates the disproportionate danger of left turns. Mayor de Blasio had announced in January that reducing the risk of left turns […]