Extended Sidewalk Curbs Approved Near Three Upper West Side Schools

By Emily Frost on July 10, 2012 1:34pm 

This intersection, 78th and Broadway, will receive extended curbs to help improve the sight line for drivers and pedestrians, as part of the DOT's
This intersection, 78th and Broadway, will receive extended curbs to help improve the sight line for drivers and pedestrians, as part of the DOT's "Safe Route to Schools" program. The intersection is next to Collegiate School.
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Emily Frost/DNAinfo

UPPER WEST SIDE — Three Upper West Side schools are on track to get safer streets for students.

Community Board 7 members voted unanimously Monday night to approve the Department of Transportation's plan to make safety improvements surrounding three local schools: Collegiate, a private K-12 school, Ascension, a private elementary school, and Booker T. Washington, a public middle school.

The schools were deemed by the department to be situated in some of the most dangerous pedestrian areas in the city, prompting DOT officials to create a plan to widen curbs at 13 intersections near the schools so that pedestrians are more visible to traffic and it takes less time to cross a narrower street. 

Under the approved plan, Ascension School at West 108th Street between Broadway and Amsterdam will get four curb extensions along Amsterdam Avenue from 107th to 110th streets. 

Collegiate School will see changes at six nearby intersections — West End Avenue between 77th and 79th streets, and on Broadway, at 77th, 78th and 80th streets.

And M.S. 54 (Booker T. Washington) would get three traffic improvements at Columbus at 107th and 108th streets, as well as on 110th Street at Morningside Drive. 

DOT reps said they plan to put the intersection changes out to bid next spring and should be on track to finish by next summer, in time for the start of the 2013-2014 school year.

While the committee was pleased with the DOT's concern for school safety in the neighborhood, members also expressed frustration during the DOT's presentation to CB7's transportation committee in June that they wanted more insight in determining which school intersections were most at risk. 

CB7 president Mark Diller cautioned at the June meeting that though the board didn't have enough opportunities to make suggestions, delaying acceptance could put the Upper West Side at the bottom of the list for proposed improvements by the DOT in the coming year.

At the Monday night full board meeting, transportation co-chair Dan Zweig said that while the committee unanimously approved the DOT's proposal, it included a criticism in its resolution. 

"We wanted to get [the plan] done, because it’s safe for students and for pedestrians," Zweig said, but added, "We felt this was brought to us at the last minute and we didn’t have time to tweak the things that could be better."

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