INWOOD — The Department of Transportation is looking to ban left turns at a busy Inwood intersection, arguing that the changes will increase pedestrian safety and speed up the flow of traffic.
The restrictions, which the DOT pitched to residents at Monday night's Community Board 12 Traffic and Transportation Committee meeting at IS 52, would affect the intersection at Dyckman Street, Riverside Drive and Broadway, which the DOT says has been the site of 128 accidents since 2010.
Under the DOT's proposal, drivers would be diverted through nearby streets, such as Sherman Avenue for riders heading westbound on Dyckman.
DOT Manhattan Borough Commissioner Margaret Forgione said the changes would enable pedestrians to cross the intersection's south and western crosswalks without risk. The turn bans would also allow the DOT to increase the size of the triangle between Riverside Drive and Broadway, shortening the distance between the crosswalks.
The intersection is fed traffic from the the Harlem River Drive and the Henry Hudson Parkway. However, residents said the bigger issues are double-parking and traffic from nearby La Marina, which they say virtually shuts down the street.
The DOT's proposal wouldn't address the La Marina traffic problems specifically, Forgione said, but it would make the street more efficient.
"This proposal doesn't solve any double parking problems, but it does make it better because no one will be stuck behind a left turn vehicle waiting to get through," Forgione said. "It makes traffic flow better."
The proposal passed through CB12's traffic committee and will be voted on by the full board at the next monthly meeting. If passed by the board, Forgione said the changes could go into effect beginning next March.
The majority of residents at the meeting voted in favor of the proposal.
"Stopping left turns is a good thing," said Michael Sullivan, who has lived near the intersection since 1976. "It's dangerous right now. People have to have eyes in the back of their heads."
However, several residents said the changes would put stress on the nearby residential streets and amounted to punishment for drivers.
"Maybe the solution is to move the crosswalks up a block," said resident Byran Davis. "Why should the onus be on drivers to go go further?
"This is just going to make it worse."
Farther south in Fort George, the DOT also proposed banning left turns from southbound Broadway and westbound Nagle Avenue onto Hillside Avenue. That proposal calls for the installation of sidewalk extensions and medians at the Broadway, Nagle Avenue and Hillside Avenue corners. Those changes would not go into effect until next fall at earliest, DOT officials said.