DOT study : Terrific but please more safety features

In the coming years our streets should be transformed for the better: the transitway on 34th Street will dedicate space for bus riders and bike lanes on 8th and 9th Avenues will dedicate space for bicyclists. In the process pedestrians will get more space on 34th street and 76 pedestrian refuges  on the avenues. Car crashes will be reduced by 30 to 50% .

DOT proposed a series of terrific improvements that will hopefully reduce congestion and improve safety. However the community comments showed that more safety and greening are still needed . Look at the presentation Here and check out reporting in DNAinfo, Streetsblog and The Atlantic Cities

Pedestrian & Bicycle Safety

  • Install a signalized crosswalk at Ramp C ( 36th Street and  west side of 9th Avenue) and enlarge the northern sidewalk.  This is a key feature the community has been asking for years. Extend the sidewalk at 41st Street and the East Side of 9th Avenue to create a mini plaza .
  • For the westbound traffic at 42nd and 9th , change the left turning green signal from the beginning of the cycle to the end of the cycle. This gives a head start to pedestrians .
    • Community asked that the same configuration be used on 42nd street at 10th, 11th and 8th avenues . Community also asked that a red arrow cycle be added to fully protect pedestrians from turning cars (a split phase).
  • Install five split phase signals (on 43rd Street and 9th Avenue , and on 9th Avenue at 34th, 40th, 42nd and 57th Streets) ( no conflict between cars and pedestrians )
    • Community asked  for 10 additional split phases on streets and avenues to fully protect pedestrians especially at intersections where fatalities have occurred. In particular the crossing of the west leg of 41st Street at 9th Avenue is impracticable for pedestrians and requires a split phase.
  • Bike lane will be interrupted from 39th to 42nd street to allow for taxi cab stand in front of the Bus Terminal
    • Community suggested to relocate the taxi stand either to 41st Street or between 39th and 41st Streets

Greening

  • 36th Street “Canoe” between 9th Avenue and Dyer would be expanded and become a green street – the City committed this improvement to Speaker Quinn as part of the Rail Yards rezoning.
    • The community ask that the sidewalk be freed of cars immediately
  • North bound Dyer Avenue to be closed at PM only .
    • The community requested that this segment of Dyer avenue be closed permanently and converted to a park.

Congestion

  • Left turn ban at 37th street onto 9th Avenue  and at 9th Avenue  onto 41st street ( PM only for the latter)
  • Redirect 42nd street westbound buses to turn left at Dyer Avenue onto a new contra lane instead of turning at 9th Avenue
  • Increase southbound capacity by increasing lanes from two to three on 11th Avenue from 44th to 49th Street.
    • The community asks for all the lanes to be southbound for that segment in order to accommodate a Bus Rapid Transit Lane much needed on this avenue .

This is a terrific collection of changes for a very complex and fragile system . The DOT indicated they will continue to work on testing options and meeting with the Project Advisory committee. We are asking an implementation schedule.

 

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6 Responses to DOT study : Terrific but please more safety features

  1. Christine Berthet says:

    Received from a neighbor:
    While I applaud the efforts to protect a certain part of our community, I feel there is a huge element of “NYBY” not in my backyard, going on here. Most of these fixes involve moving all the undesirable elements farther West. I have been in this neighborhood my entire adult life. I have been West of 10th for 11 years. Please stop thinking that an area with thousands of new apartments, thousands of new residents – most of whom are young, short term renters and don’t want to get involved – can take more abuse. We have no transportation, no grocery, no stores, no schools, no help crossing 11th ave after school hours, idling buses outside my window both on the street and at the depot (yes, they idle for up to 4 hours as they await their turn to exit, and 311 does not have a solution). We are a 20 min walk (if you are over the age of 6) from the subway, and 1/2 hr by bus. 11th Ave is vital to our getting home in the evening. Many of us “cab pool” down 11th to get kids home from lessons and afterschool programs in the evenings. It takes 15 min if traffic is semi-ok, and costs just a little more than the 4 metro card fares combined. It takes an hour by public transportation in the evening. We are locked into the neighborhood,by nonstop during rush hour, and all evening Fridays.
    I deal with uncontrolled gridlock at school dismissal time. Nearly every driver is on the phone. Trucks do not give pedestrians the right-of-way. Cars do not “see” us crossing. there are accidents every week on this corner.
    I am tired of all your solutions hurting my family. Think of something else that supports our whole community, enforce the “box”, have protected bus lanes, ticket drivers on the phone. Stop just pushing your problems West. They won’t fall into the river.
    respectfully,
    Christina Morrissey

  2. Christine Berthet says:

    Christina,
    Chekpeds has long advocated for more enforcement everywhere. This is dependent on NYPD and the mayor, not on the DOT who is doing this study.

    We have also advocated for an express bus lane on 11th avenue, and you are right that it should be included. In fact the widening of southbound 11 th avenue is exactly for that purpose.
    We have also been pushing for a subway stop at 41 st street, but this a much larger issue with MTA

    On the idling buses, CB4 has sent letters to New Jersey transit. The Port Authority was to build a bus garage, but the recent raise in tools was not sufficient to fund it.

    As bad as the situation is on 10th and 11 th avenues, The DOT measurements of volumes and back up show that the situation is worse on 9 th avenue.

    I wish you had attended the meeting to speak up. One gentleman raised issues related to 11 th and 41st specifically. The DOT would have heard your comments directly. Please keep your comments coming. It is important that event one speaks up.

  3. Christine Berthet says:

    Elke/Martin

    I FIRMLY oppose bike lane on 9th ave til HORRIBLE congestion issue is properly dealt with.

    It is beyond me why DOT does not use 11ave as the SOLE feeder for the tunnel & 9th for Port Authority– it would help EVERYONE- pedestrians, cars, buses EVERYONE

    Thanks

    Kathy Terrill

    Resident West 47th ST

  4. Christine Berthet says:

    Martin’s response
    Kathy, Why you fail to understand that green space for car space is the solution to congestion is a division between us. I think you must own a car or have a suburban mentality and think more lanes for traffic is good. We are pedestrians here and all traffic is better controlled with bike lanes: there are turning lanes, directional signals, traffic is further and safer away; even parking is no longer curbside: THE CURB BELONGS TO THE PEOPLE. The other cause for your misunderstanding, I could surmise, is local or NIMBYism. I don’t think you understand what’s happening down 9th Ave. and what’s really blocking the traffic (PA’s Lincoln Tunnel) and have not studied all the plan outside your immediate block. Residence of Hell’s Kitchen have suffered for generations of lung disease and now the agencies are clearing it up with bus contra lanes, ramp management and PA participation. The bike lane is people control over machine control. Take the time to look at the data: safety is big reward in a family community. You are relatively new to the debate and I urge you to catch up and see the whole picture and what’s essential for 100,000 people (appx district size) to enjoy a better quality life. Martin

  5. Christine Berthet says:

    Kathy again
    Thanks for all the information
    I do drive in Manhattan.
    Adding bike lanes is insane with the current chronic congested traffic conditions on 9th Ave- to narrow lanes- however DOT may justify it- increases congestion.
    I strongly urge DOT to send the tunnel traffic down 9th (ONLY) and send Port Authority down 11th
    then perhaps adding bike lanes– I don’t see a bike lane as”people” anything– rather adding MORE congestion to an avenue that seems to be a dumping ground for more & more traffic( Broadway Green Project Traffic, the Tunnel etc.) DOT is ducking the big issue of properly dealing with the traffic congestion to 9th ave by the green project & Port Authority & the Tunnel. Until it deals with that– the rest is all about” looking good”- full of sound & fury signifying just another expense to NYC Tax Payers

    Thanks
    Kathy Terrill

  6. Christine Berthet says:

    Martin again
    am all for the bike lanes as mitigation and calming. But Kathy is right about a stronger role for 11th Ave. as a feeder to the LT. DOT proposes opening one additional lane downtown on 11th Ave. from W48 to LT entrance, but I think it is not enough. Why couldn’t the three lanes be extended to
    W57th St.? An alternate route for cars, like the trucks, could be offered for motorists west along
    W57 and then down eleventh with that 3rd lane extended. Martin

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