By Leslie Albrecht
UPPER WEST SIDE — The wait isn't over yet.
A long-delayed connection between Riverside Boulevard and West 72nd Street won't open until at least July, Department of Transportation officials said Tuesday night.
The connection — which will give drivers easy access to the West Side Highway on-ramp at West 72nd Street — won't be opened until the DOT finishes safety improvements on Riverside Boulevard, Community Board 7's transportation committee meeting was told.
Residents have long complained that drivers speed and blow through stop signs on the street, which runs from West 63rd Street to West 71st Street in front of the Riverside South luxury apartment buildings.
With a preschool on the street and a park nearby, residents asked for a traffic light to slow traffic.
But DOT Manhattan Borough Commissioner Margaret Forgione said Tuesday a traffic light wasn't warranted, because a study showed "little or no speeding" on Riverside Boulevard, where the speed limit is 30 miles per hour.
While locals have sounded the alarm about regular near-miss accidents, Forgione said there's been only one car crash on Riverside Boulevard since 2004, and the accident didn't cause any injuries.
To slow drivers down, DOT wants to paint a center median strip on the street and make new markings for the parking lane.
That work is expected to be done by early July. Then Extell Development Company, which owns Riverside Boulevard, can transfer the street to city control.
That's a step that's taken more than a year to achieve.
Extell completed work on Riverside Boulevard in May 2010, but the hand-over to the city was delayed when an inspector raised concerns about expansion joints on the road that could become trip hazards, an Extell spokesman told DNAinfo.
In March 2011, Extell said the connection between Riverside Boulevard and West 72nd Street would be open by the end of March, but that predicted deadline came and went as well.