Study Examines Pedestrian Safety on Upper West Side

By Emily Frost on April 5, 2013 5:48pm | Updated on April 8, 2013 8:50am

UPPER WEST SIDE — A new study will examine pedestrian safety in a fast-growing section of the Upper West Side.

Community Board 7 will weigh data as well as public input on how to make the neighborhood friendlier to pedestrians, focusing on the area between 94th and 100th streets from Riverside Drive to Central Park West.

"This area became a concern because there are parks, two highways, new developments and new people," said board member Ethel Sheffer, who is spearheading the effort.

The board has enlisted Jeff Peel, 35, a graduate student in community planning and development at Hunter College, to create an initial report on existing issues, funded through a grant from the Fund for the City of New York. 

Then the board hopes to hire a professional consultant to suggest solutions, Sheffer said.

Councilwoman Melissa Mark-ViveritoCouncilwoman Inez Dickens and Councilwoman Gale Brewer contributed a total of $17,500 to be used for the consultant, the board said.

To start, Peel plans to gather data from police reports and the Department of Transportation, but he's also seeking community input on residents' experience of walking in the area.  

"Your perception of safety is just as important as the numbers a lot of times," Peel told a group of a couple dozen residents who convened Thursday night to share their feedback.

The residents marked a map with their walking routes and what they saw as problem areas.

"I fell safe walking on the sidewalks," said resident Peter Arndtsen. "The crosswalks are dangerous."

Residents agreed that cars often speed when exiting and entering the highway, some commercial bikers go the wrong way in the bike lane and the area outside the 96th Street subway stop gets too crowded.

"We want to know the good, the bad and the ugly of the neighborhood," Peel told the group. "It's a very walkable neighborhood, but in order to maintain that with an aging neighborhood it's important to take a closer look."

To comment on pedestrian safety issues, residents can email Community Board 7 at office@cb7.org.

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