New York City Begins to Optimize its Most Dangerous Streets

July 11, 2012

Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard, one of the most dangerous streets in Manhattan, is getting a makeover. (Via Madang)

July 11, 2012 — One of the busiest avenues in New York City, Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard is known as a death trap for drivers and pedestrians alike. Since the beginning of 2012, seven people have died due to accidents on the avenue and there have been numerous accidents and near misses. The fast flow of traffic and general aggressive driving common on New York streets has made the avenue one of the most dangerous in Manhattan.

Since 2006, there have been 12 pedestrian fatalities, 11 of which were residents of Harlem. There have been over 600 serious injuries and fatalities in the past 6 years. Community leaders in Harlem have held meetings and programs to remedy the intensified problem.

 Harlem, New York City

The wide lanes of the avenue are two feet larger than other Manhattan streets. (via WiredNewYork)

Faced with community outrage, the Department of Transportation has begun employing traffic calming strategies as well as a long term plan to keep the avenue safe. Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard, also commonly called Seventh Avenue, has 12 feet travel lanes which are two feet wider than other Manhattan avenues. This space makes the avenue feel more like a highway and traffic has reacted to the space accordingly. Plans to calm this traffic include wider parking lanes and larger medians as well as more signs to regulate the speed limit, turns, and pedestrian crossings. The Department of Transportation thinks the wider parking lanes will limit the size of travel lanes and naturally calm traffic.

A 30mph speed limit has always been regulated on the boulevard but the new plans include more signage to help enforce speed restrictions. )

In the meantime, the community struggles with keeping pedestrians safe. Some have compared the roadway to the German Autobahn while others think of it as a racetrack. Still Harlem has seen many changes in the past 10 years from business growth to residential increase both of which suggest the traffic initiatives are needed to continue this growth.

– K. Howitt

Category: News

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