The pedestrians’ stature rose in 2021: DOT just published the Street Master Plan, as the 2019 law mandates. It includes a plan for pedestrians and sidewalks . It introduces the “walk lane” and elevates walking to a transportation mode. This is very momentous.
The plan is not just a book on a shelf. DOT continues to transform Eight Avenue to better serve pedestrians. Two years ago they redesigned the segment between W38th and W42nd Streets; this gave pedestrians the majority of the street space, and fully protected bike lane and intersections. Now DOT is working on the segment between W30th and W 38th Streets. The installation started in 2021, slated for completion by Spring 2022. And we just learned that DOT is studying pedestrian Improvements on 9th Avenue, between W58th and W50th Street. They intend to take advantage of the conclusion of the Water Tunnel project.
Residents-activists challenged NYPD Midtown North, to stop parking on the sidewalk, an activity that forced pedestrians to walk in the street. After conversations NYPD returned 50% of the space to pedestrians. They eliminated portions of perpendicular parking and ensured any remaining cars did not block the path.
The battle against garbage on sidewalks continued this year with a sustained dialogue with DOT. The Departement of Sanitation announced that they are taking the next step for residential corrals and DOT included this strategy in the Streets Master Plan.
In a Manhattan CB4 survey, a large majority of residents expressed dissatisfaction with sidewalks, especially during snow storms. They were critical of the lack of response from the administration through 311. This illustrates the current state of affairs. Many agencies provide services focused on car users and not on pedestrians and low-income population.