HUDSON HEIGHTS — The streets of Hudson Heights will get a makeover with lower speed limits, new signage, additional speed bumps and a new crosswalk under a plan to improve pedestrian safety in the area.
The neighborhood would officially be designated a slow zone under a proposal from the Department of Transportation that would reduce speed limits to 20 mph in the area running between the Henry Hudson Parkway and Broadway from 179th Street to Fort Tryon Park.
In addition, the Bennett Avenue entrance to the 190th Street A train station would get a long-awaited crosswalk with a stop sign.
The decision to create a slow zone came after the Hudson Heights Owners Coalition advocated for the changes, with support from Community Board 12, the 34th Precinct and several elected officials. The DOT acknowledged that the area had a high number of injuries from collisions, including one fatality, two severely injured pedestrians and four severely injured vehicle occupants from 2007 to 2015.
The DOT plans to install 22 speed bumps in the area, including two on Overlook Terrace, a hilly street where residents complain about cars and cyclists racing. There would also be 12 “gateways” at intersections on the outer edges of the designated area featuring signs explaining the rules of the slow zone.
In a separate but related project, the DOT has also proposed installing a stop sign and crosswalk at the Bennett Avenue entrance to the 190th Street A station. Residents told DNAinfo New York in November that the heavily trafficked entrance was dangerous for pedestrians, particularly those walking with small children in tow.
The DOT hopes to begin construction in April.
Andrea Martinsen, 37, a local resident who supported the plan, said the area is in desperate need of traffic changes.
“We all have young children, preschool age or younger,” Martinsen said, referring to several parents who attended Community Board 12's Transportation Committee meeting Monday, at which the DOT presented the plan. “We find that navigating the neighborhood can be really difficult, especially when it comes to cars speeding and spots where there are no crosswalks.”
Kelly Ruby, 38, who helped to advocate for the project, was also happy with the plan.
“I’m thrilled," she said. "It’s a year ahead of where we thought it would be."
Ruby noted that there was initially some opposition to the idea because residents believed it would cost them a large number of parking spaces. However, the DOT has since changed the way that it installs signage to decrease the impact on parking.
The neighborhood won’t lose any parking spots under the slow zone proposal, but it will lose three to four spaces along Bennett Avenue for the installation of the crosswalk.
“I think this will really make a difference," Ruby said.
Community Board 12 plans to vote on the proposal at its full board meeting later this month.