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Board Calls for Pedestrian Safety Improvements Near Lincoln Center

By Emily Frost | December 11, 2013 5:18pm
 The committee will share recommendations with the DOT regarding several safety improvements in the neighborhood. 
Pedestrian Safety Improvements Near Lincoln Center
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UPPER WEST SIDE — A crowded subway entrance, a wide street that encourages cars to speed and a lack of countdown timers at a series of intersections pose unsafe conditions for pedestrians, local leaders found in a neighborhood traffic survey.

The transportation committee of Community Board 7 surveyed several intersections surrounding Lincoln Center to identify traffic-calming solutions they plan to request from the Department of Transportation. 

At the southern corner of West 66th Street and Broadway, "there’s a subway entrance that’s spilling with people all the time. It’s really busy," said transportation committee co-chairman Andrew Albert at a meeting Tuesday.

At one point during the survey, conducted on Monday morning, there were so many people coming out of the 1 train subway exit that commuters had to wait on the stairs or risk spilling out into the street, he said. 

"When people are exiting the subway, you often get large groups…it’s like a salmon heading upstream. And it’s very hard to navigate," said board member Roberta Semer. "It definitely needs fixing."

The committee is calling for curb extensions at the intersection, which they said would give pedestrians more room to stay out of the way of oncoming traffic. 

All of West 66th Street is also too wide, making it easy for cars to speed on the road, the committee said.

"Sixty-Sixth Street has become a speedway," Albert said, noting that narrowing the street through painting or adding small islands would help prevent speeding — a recommendation the committee will make to the DOT. 

Curb extensions on the northeast and southeast corners of West End Avenue and West 66th Street would also slow turning cars in an area that has a lot of seniors, Semer said.

Just south of that intersection, at the busy north-south crossing at West 65th Street and Columbus Avenue, committee members were unhappy to see no countdown timers that let pedestrians know how much time they have to cross the street. The timers are found elsewhere in the neighborhood.

Without a timer, "people have no idea [what] the flashing person [signal] means," in terms of time to get across, Albert said. "There were tons of people crossing in a dangerous way."

The committee said it would make recommendations regarding all of the findings to the DOT.

"We have not yet received these proposals from the community board but will review any that we do receive," a DOT spokesman said.