The intersection at 96th Street and Broadway is officially going under the knife.
The redesign of the intersection, which saw a number of pedestrian accidents earlier this year, is officially underway as part of Mayor Bill de Blasio's Vision Zero plan, which seeks to eliminate traffic-related fatalities.
The north and south median walls have been knocked down, and workers are laying asphalt to prepare for a crosswalk. The other parts of the plan include prohibiting southbound left turns at the intersection and increasing the time pedestrians have to cross the street.
Jeffrey Malamy, a director of special projects at the New York City Department of Transportation, said in an email that the project will be done soon, though he declined to give a specific date.
“DOT received a resolution of support for this important safety project from the Community Board and it is scheduled for completion in the coming weeks,” Malamy wrote.
Andrew Albert, the co-chair of the Community Board 7 transportation committee, said that he has been told that the entire project will be “done this summer for sure.”
Isabel Strasser, a resident of the Upper East Side who frequents Symphony Space on 95th Street and Broadway, said that she is glad to see the DOT taking action.
“There've been so many accidents, something needs to happen,” Strasser said.
Still, Strasser said that she feels that there is only so much the DOT can do to make the intersection safer for pedestrians.
“People are going to jaywalk no matter what,” she said.
Several residents of the area were concerned about the consequences of banning the left turn, which they said could push the problem to a different intersection.
“It's very important, when they make the prohibition of left turns, that there be ample signage and opportunity. It could increase congestion" at other intersections, said Barry Solowey, an Upper West Side resident who often drives through the intersection.
Albert agreed that banning the left turn could cause problems, saying that drivers would only be able to turn at 95th Street.
“We recommended to DOT that—if this is what they intend—they have a sign at 95th and Amsterdam,” Albert said. He added that he believes cars should go left on Amsterdam Avenue and make a right on 96th Street in order to go east.
The changes to the intersection, which were unveiled at a joint DOT and CB7 meeting in January, come as a response to a series of traffic deaths in the area, including those of Alexander Shear, 73, at 96th Street and Broadway, and Cooper Stock, 9, at 97th Street and West End Avenue, which happened within an hour of each other on Jan. 10.
At Tuesday night's CB7 transportation meeting, the committee members voted unanimously in favor of two resolutions presented by City Council member Helen Rosenthal. The first sought to name the intersection of 97th Street and West End Avenue “Cooper Stock Way” and the second expressed support for a City Council bill that would suspend the licenses of taxi drivers who injure or kill a pedestrian.
“The bill will be heard at the transportation committee of the council” in June, Rosenthal said. “It will most likely be included as part of the response to Vision Zero.”
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