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Daylighting

Daylight Again: Bronx Community Board Backs Parking Ban at Intersections

The Boogie Down is down with daylighting!

Photo: Jackson Chabot|

Just one car can block visibility, as seen here on Jerome and W. Burnside avenues in the Bronx.

A community board in the Bronx on Wednesday became the first in the Boogie Down to join the growing push to make intersections safer by getting rid of parking.

Members of the western Bronx's Community Board 5 quickly got behind the idea of restricting parking near crosswalks, also known as daylighting, a proven safety measure that makes it easier for drivers and pedestrians to see each other.

“I think it’s very hard to argue against it, and the focus was not on parking,” said Lucia Deng, the chair of CB 5's Municipal Services committee, which handles transportation matters. “The focus was on intersections and why they are the most dangerous for car crashes and how this just benefits everybody.”

The community board covering Fordham, University Heights, Morris Heights, and Mount Hope voted with no dissent and just one abstention to back universal daylighting, making it the 13th such group citywide to give their advisory input. 

The state already bans parking within 20 feet of a crosswalk, but the city has long exempted itself from that rule, providing more space for vehicle storage at intersections, where, according to the city's own data, more than half of pedestrian traffic deaths and nearly eight in ten injuries occur. 

The Bronx board’s resolution calls on the Department of Transportation to replace current corner parking spots with physical infrastructure to create safe public spaces for people and keep cars from illegally parking there, such as curb extensions.

“Enforcing the Daylighting Law in our community would significantly increase visibility, which would protect pedestrians, drivers, cyclists and all other road users,” the board’s message states.

The vote came after a presentation last month by livable streets group Open Plans (which shares a parent company with Streetsblog). Open Plans has been organizing community boards around the city to get behind daylighting.

“It’s been a pleasure to work with these Bronx community leaders. I think the power of daylighting is really intuitive, so once they realized they could pass a resolution to improve their streets in that way, they ran with it," said Emily Chingay, a citywide engagement advocate at Open Plans. "It’s really inspiring to witness New Yorkers across the city see the potential and the power in their own advocacy, and it’s an honor to help make it happen.”

Bad daylighting is mainly a problem on more residential side streets in the area, Deng said, but on the borough's prime artery the Grand Concourse the city has vastly improved visibility in recent years thanks to a major street reconstruction project, which has created better pedestrian infrastructure like neckdowns and raised crosswalks. 

“All of that physical treatment has made for a much nicer and safer thoroughfare for everyone,” said Deng.

The Bronx boulevard is also known for its deeply flawed “mountable” bike lanes the city installed during the street overhaul on its service road, which act as an invitation for illegal parking. 

DOT did not respond for comment, but the Adams administration has previously vowed to daylight 1,000 intersections every year. The promise followed the killing of 7-year-old Kamari Hughes by an NYPD tow truck driver at an intersection with poor visibility in Fort Greene. DOT officials have insisted that the well-established safety design is not appropriate at every intersection unless there is something physical (such as a rock or planter) to prevent drivers from "cutting the corner." 

Other city governments, such as Hoboken, New Jersey, which hasn’t had a traffic death since 2017, have embraced daylighting more aggressively.

Community boards began demanding the safety treatment on this side of the Hudson River after a driver fatally struck 7-year-old Dolma Naadhum at a Queens intersection last year, and the movement has since spread to nearly a quarter of the city’s 59 community boards, representing some 2 million New Yorkers.  

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