Nearly 150 West Side residents went to the John Jay School of Criminal Justice to hear the results of a survey outlining new safety initiatives to address pedestrian concerns.
Council Member Gale Brewer and Margaret Forgione, Manhattan Borough Commissioner for the Department of Transportation, led a panel that detailed the transportation issues between West 55th and 86th streets. The study is a continuation of a 2007 survey that culled pedestrian concerns from West Siders.
The most frequently mentioned complaints—aside from bicyclists—were intersections congested with pedestrians and high-speed automobile driving. The survey highlighted 27 problem intersections.
There were four intersections in the study area that averaged 10 or more accidents a year between 2006 and 2008. One intersection, West 56th Street and Eighth Avenue, had five pedestrian accidents in a year.
The Department of Transportation (DOT) increased pedestrian crossing time at five avenues, including West End and Amsterdam avenues between West 60th and 81st streets. The change was intended to allow the neighborhood’s senior citizens to safely navigate large intersections.
“The DOT sees some very challenging intersections,” Brewer said. “I think the main goal is to slow down the traffic and figure out the best signal and best traffic pattern for such a pedestrian-heavy neighborhood.”
This year, the department also surveyed 99 small businesses in the area and found that more than half of them don’t offer employees incentives to take mass transit, and 66 percent were unwilling to accept night deliveries to alleviate truck congestion.
During the question and answer portion of the evening, more than two dozen West Siders made comments and asked questions, mainly about police enforcement of unruly bicyclists and automobiles.
One resident asked police to crack down on trucks that back up into crosswalks along the West 82nd Street truck route. Residents also complained of illegal left-hand turns at the intersections of West 79th Street and Riverside Drive, and West 72nd Street and West End Avenue.
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