Streetopia Discusses A Pedestrianized Broadway, Safer Intersections, Reclaiming Curb Space

  Last modified on March 10th, 2020

If you haven’t heard about Streetopia, you may be interested in some of the issues the group is focused on. On Tuesday night, the group held an informational session to meet with community members, and to give updates on their campaign efforts.

Streetopia’s focus is on how to utilize public space, and quality-of-life issues facing the community.

According to their website, the group “fundamentally, [wants] more connection with one another, better access to our phenomenal parks, healthy and safe ways for our families to travel, and more green space.”

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The group is re-envisioning what the neighborhood could look like, and is not opposed to challenging the status quo. The below updates were given at the meeting.

Pedestrianize Broadway:

The group has begun to reimagine what Broadway could look like, especially focusing on making it more pedestrian friendly.

“Broadway diagonally slices the street grid of Manhattan, which forces traffic to slow down and creates slower walking conditions for pedestrians, too. It is one of the Upper West Side’s most dangerous streets. Since 2012, drivers have injured hundreds and killed 6 people on the portion of the road that runs through our neighborhood. At the points where it crosses the Avenues, Broadway creates an intimidating, highway-like barrier to walking through the neighborhood,” the group found in their research.

 The update on this initiative was that the group has been working with the Broadway Task Force to create people-centered plazas on the Avenue.  

Smarter Intersections:

Ever feel unsafe walking across an UWS intersection?

According to Streetopia, daylighting can help this situation. “[There is a] very real fear of being hit… but potentially [an] even larger effect: seniors and kids lose their ability to move about the Upper West Side freely and independently. While the increased visibility helps everyone – drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians – interact more safely, daylighting especially helps seniors, kids and slower-moving people, who are otherwise blocked from seeing and being seen by oncoming traffic by parked cars. A daylit intersection can mean the difference between a fifth grader who can walk to school or soccer practice on her own and one who can’t experience this developmentally-important graduated independence.”

 The update from the meeting is that Streetopia has promoted a CB7 resolution to address the ten most dangerous intersections annually. We are following this agenda item and will report back when the committee has more information. 

Reclaim the Curb:

The group supported the proposal for a curb use study to take place. This will be addressed at the full CB7 board meeting in February.

“Space for people did not always end at the street. Before mass motorization, the curb was a fluid space used by all for social, transport, and commercial use as needed. We can once again create curbs that serve all people this efficiently. What would YOU do with this public space?”, a group asked.

This topic has been the source of much discussion and debate at past CB7 meetings. Many have been outspoken about their fears that this would lead to less public and free parking on the street.

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Getting Crosstown:

The group has supported a CB7 resolution to create bike routes to cross Central Park. They have also written letters to elected officials. NYC scores a 46/100 on the People For Bikes’ Bike Network Analysis, which measures how well people with bikes can get around to places they want to go. NYC is notoriously difficult for anyone wishing to get crosstown, but especially so on a bike. The group is promoting protected bike lanes on 72nd, 79th, 86th, 91st, 92nd, 96th and 110th Streets.

“Cross-town protected bike lanes support transportation, exercise, a healthy environment and a healthy local economy. We can’t afford NOT to implement them. Momentum is building. Cross-town protected lanes are already in place on 12th, 13th, 26th, 29th, 52nd and 55th Streets. Let’s keep them rolling uptown!” states Streetopia.

Streetopia will be advocating at the February 4th, CB7 Board Meeting with signs in support of their initiatives. They are looking forward to a lively debate.

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