The troublesome intersection at West 96th street and Broadway has been redesigned to try to reduce crashes, two of which took the lives of Upper West Siders earlier this year.
That intersection is notoriously busy, and even more so since the city built a new subway station in the center island. The center island was overcrowded and pedestrians often walked against the light, a treacherous move at such a high-traffic crossroads.
So in a project that took about a month and a half, the city has extended the curbs on the street corners, enlarged the mall at the North end of the intersection, and forbid Southbound vehicles on Broadway from making left turns. Signal timing has been changed and there’s also a crosswalk now that connects the North and South malls, as shown below.
Our commenters have complained about how many people jaywalk in that area, and there’s been a spirited debate about whether police should crack down on people crossing against the light or in the middle of the street. At a press conference at the new intersection on Tuesday, some journalists asked about jaywalking, with one even asking if police would focus more on pedestrian who walk and text. Streetsblog noted that texting while walking isn’t a crime (texting while driving is), and said that the NYPD official in charge of street safety is more concerned about the danger posed by cars:
“Motorists are operating a 4,000 pound vehicle. And we cannot be distracted while we’re operating that vehicle,” he said. “When a collision occurs between a motorist and a pedestrian, the pedestrian loses 100 percent of the time. So again, it’s very important that our motorists, who are obligated to be licensed, that they operate in a way that’s not distracted.”
Photo via Councilman Mark Levine.