New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, New York Police Department (NYPD) Chief of Transportation Thomas Chan, Congressman Jerrold Nadler, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Council Transportation Chair Ydanis Rodríguez, Council Member Helen Rosenthal and Transportation Alternatives’ Paul Steely White today unveiled pedestrian improvements at the intersection of West 96th Street and Broadway on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, an area with two pedestrian fatalities and a third just blocks away in January. The intersection also had 20 pedestrian injuries between 2008 and 2012. The project follows Mayor Bill de Blasio’s recent budget announcement, which included $51.8 million for important Vision Zero-related safety projects like this, as well as $14.1 million for additional NYPD and Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC) efforts.
The project, which was supported by Community Board 7 this winter, simplifies signal timing, eliminates two left turns at the intersection, adds pedestrian space, enhances access and safety by reducing pedestrian crossing distances and creates a signalized crosswalk across West 96th Street between the two median malls at this busy transit connection. The intersection will also benefit from DOT’s announcement earlier this month that the 8.3 mile stretch of the Broadway corridor between West 59th Street and 220th streets would become an Arterial Slow Zone with the speed limit lowered to 25 m.p.h., as well as enhanced signage and enforcement efforts.
“From redesigned intersections to 25 mph slow zone signage, Vision Zero is becoming even more visible and tangible to New Yorkers citywide,” said Commissioner Trottenberg. “These critical investments help redefine how we all share and use our streets. I thank the Administration for its unwavering support as DOT works to make a safer city.”
“Through Vision Zero, City agencies are working together to make streets safer in all five boroughs,” said NYPD Chief Chan. “By combining stepped-up enforcement and re-engineering key intersections like 96th Street and Broadway, our safety improvements will benefit all New Yorkers.”
“Our licensees are among the most active users of our streets, and as such, they are an important beneficiary of these safety improvements,” said TLC Chair Meera Joshi. “In addition to the creation of a TLC safety enforcement squad and our other Vision Zero-related initiatives, we will work to communicate the benefits of these engineering enhancements.”
“Today’s announcement of safety improvements on Broadway and 96th Street on the Upper West Side will literally save lives. New Yorkers should not have to risk their lives when crossing the street,” said Congressman Jerrold Nadler (NY-10). “We’ve seen that Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero of no pedestrian casualties is coming closer and closer to becoming a reality. Once again the Mayor is improving the everyday lives of regular New Yorkers. Safer streets are leading to a better New York for all of us.”
“This intersection must be made safer, and the DOT’s improved safety measures will go a long way toward making it less treacherous,” said Borough President Gale Brewer. “My office in the City Council pushed hard for many of these improvements, and I’m happy to see them take effect.”
“96th street and Broadway’s current design has claimed two pedestrians’ lives this year, and put countless more in danger,” said Senator Adriano Espaillat. “I thank Mayor de Blasio’s for his swift response to these unsafe conditions – the changes announced today will prevent future tragedies. Pedestrians and drivers alike are frequently confused by the signal patterns at this intersection, and the simplified layout will end this chaos. Together with the Broadway arterial slow zone, we are making meaningful changes towards pedestrian safety in Upper Manhattan.”
“My constituents and I will now breathe a sigh of relief when crossing West 96th Street and Broadway” said Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal (D/WF – Manhattan). “Reducing vehicular speed limits and redesigning the intersection with pedestrian safety as first priority is critical to eliminating injuries and fatalities, especially at major, complex intersections like this. I commend DOT for taking action and look forward to bringing more pedestrian-friendly changes to dangerous intersections throughout my district.”
“I am glad to see the Department of Transportation taking such quick steps toward correcting a major problem on 96th Street and Broadway,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodríguez. “I am hopeful that these measures will fulfill their intended purpose and save lives by making streets easier to cross for pedestrians and calming traffic at this vital intersection. This is one of the initial intersections to be redesigned as a part of Vision Zero and I look forward to more changes across the city that will work to achieve this goal.”
“Earlier this year the Upper West Side lost two people in two different traffic accidents at 96th and Broadway,” said Council Member Helen Rosenthal.” DOT heeded the call from our community: they studied the details of traffic patterns at this location, and their engineers developed a comprehensive plan to improve pedestrian safety. There is still more work to be done to make our streets safer for pedestrians, but today I am grateful to DOT for their thought, care, and speediness in making this intersection a safer place.”
“96th and Broadway has long been infamous as one of the most confusing and dangerous intersections in New York City. Dozens of injuries have occurred there and tragedy struck yet again when Samantha Lee and Alexander Shear were both fatally struck in January of this year, making it clear that we need to act now to prevent future tragedies,” said Council Member Mark Levine. “Today marks an important step toward the implementation of Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero plan. I applaud the Department of Transportation for listening to community concerns and for quickly proposing the necessary changes that will make crossing this street safer and easier.”
“We applaud DOT’s quick action in taking steps to make what has been a very unsafe intersection safer, including adding the island-to-island crossing and changing of the lights at 96th and Broadway,” said Community Board 7 Chair Elizabeth Caputo. “We hope these efforts will help make this intersection safer for our Upper West Side residents and visitors.”
“We applaud Commissioner Trottenberg, Chief Chan, and all the elected officials and community board members on the Upper West Side for coming together so quickly to overhaul this hazardous intersection,” said Paul Steely White, Executive Director of the street safety group Transportation Alternatives. “We look forward to working with all our partners to realize Vision Zero by connecting redesigned intersections and Arterial Slow Zones in communities around the City to make a safer road network for all New Yorkers.”
The enhancements include simplified signal phasing at the intersection, reducing it from four to three phases as well as the restriction of two turns: from southbound Broadway to eastbound West 96th Street and from Westbound 96th Street to southbound Broadway. These changes are designed to reduce confusion and delays at the intersection, encourage compliance with the signals and prevent conflicts between pedestrians and turning vehicles. The project also includes larger pedestrian areas in the north median at 96th Streets, as well as curb extensions along Broadway at West 100th-97th streets and at West 94th and West 93rd streets to shorten crossing distances.
To encourage more New Yorkers to play a role in designing important safety projects like this one, DOT will continue its series of Vision Zero workshops in Manhattan next month: June 11 between 6:30-8:30 P.M. at Our Lady of Pompeii (25 Carmine Street) and June 16 from 6:30-8:30 P.M. at Alhambra Ballroom (2116 Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard). For more information on Arterial Slow Zones, DOT’s intersection safety project at Broadway and West 96th Street and all of the agency’s safety initiatives please visit www.nyc.gov/dot and www.nyc.gov/visionzero.