WEST END AVENUE REDESIGN BEGINS AS COMMUNITY BOARD APPROVES MAJOR CHANGES

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Community Board 7 approved a major redesign to West End Avenue on Tuesday night, voting 39-1 to redraw the avenue from from 72nd to 107th street so that there is only one travel lane in each direction. The city will also install pedestrian islands on 72nd, 79th, 95th and 97th streets. Southbound left turns would be banned from West End on 95th, and northbound lefts would be banned on 97th.

We have posted the full plan here and included the resolution passed by the community board at the bottom of this post.

Even as the community board was considering the proposal, the DOT was already beginning work on the street starting in the low 70’s on Tuesday night, community board district manager Penny Ryan said. Reader Priscilla Greene sent in the photo below of the machines that are grinding the street. They started at 8 p.m., she said: “Inconveniencing drivers seems more important than the comfort and sleep of residents. Crazy.”

The project should be completed before the winter weather, said CB7 transportation committee co-chairman Andrew Albert.

wea constructionA half-dozen people from the community spoke before the vote, with some noting that the plan doesn’t address the flood of cars that come to West End from the Henry Hudson Parkway. Albert and co-chairman Dan Zweig said that those issues should be dealt with separately.

“Everything’s not going to be perfect from day one but we and DOT will continue to work on it,” said Zweig.

Mary Beth Kelly, whose husband Dr. Carl Henry Nacht was killed by a truck while bicycling on 12th Avenue in 2006, said the plan is a comprehensive solution that needs to move forward.

“This is a great design and we want it and we shouldn’t kill it just because” it’s not perfect,” she said.

Community Board member Jay Adolf said that the changes would cause traffic to back up in the left turn lanes. “I look at this configuration and I think it’s just going to be awful.” He was the lone member to vote against it.

We’ve posted the full text of the resolution below (click to enlarge). There was one slight amendment to point six, asking for DOT to review other avenues and side streets.

wea resolution

Corrections: This post originally said incorrectly that the changes would start at 70th street. The changes outlined in the plan will begin at 72nd. Also, we’ve corrected the location where Dr. Nacht was hit by a truck.

Top photo via DOT.

NEWS | 31 comments | permalink
    1. Reader says:

      The dot crews started at 8 am, not pm. 8 am is totally reasonable. Also, people died. This work will hopefully prevent more deaths.

      • UWSKA says:

        Well it’s 9pm where we are on West End and 94th and, 12 floors up with the air conditioners humming the work has JUST begun. I have a feeling it’s going to be a long night for all of us. And the first week of school no less. I agree 8am is totally reasonable. To begin at 9PM is not.

    2. Scott says:

      They need to install a walk sign on 97th and RSD for walkers going N/S. Currently there’s no sign at all.

    3. anonymous says:

      how come 96th and WE is not addressed in this plan?

    4. Mary Jones says:

      Why no pedestrian island at 86th st? I was almost run down there. Luckier than my friend Jean Chambers

    5. BZee says:

      The info in this article is incorrect
      No street changes/work is being done south of 72nd and WEA..nor will anything be done there. In fact, the DOT plan didn’t look at traffic issues on WEA south of 72nd street at all. I went to these meetings and have been in contact with the DOT. Unfortunately South of 72nd street isn’t on the DOT or CB 7’s radar.

      • West Sider says:

        Apologies. We had heard that the work was starting on 70th, but that work was just repaving and not the lane change. It’s been fixed. WSR

    6. John says:

      “Mary Beth Kelly … said the plan is a comprehensive solution that …”

      ANYTIME you see the term “comprehensive solution” in anything related to government you should RUN, NOT WALK, as quickly as possible in the opposite direction.


      “The urge to save humanity is almost always a false-front for the urge to rule it.”
      — H.L Menken

    7. Wendy says:

      boy, I think this is a bad idea. It will increase traffic tremendously on West End Ave and only 1 lane for all those cars (and illegal trucks) and cabs to share. WEA folks are going to wish they never advocated for this. WEA will become one long parking lot of cars. The answer to preventing pedestrian deaths are 4 way stop lights, where for a full minute, all directions are stopped and pedestrians can cross.

      • Nathan says:

        So, your solution to WEA becoming a “parking lot” due to fewer lanes is to make it a parking lot due to excessively long lights with dubious benefit?

      • Sam says:

        Right now there are cars double parked on just about every block of WEA on the East and West sides of the street. WEA is already 1 lane in each direction unofficially and traffic moves just fine.

      • ScooterStan says:

        Re: “…WEA will become one long parking lot of cars.”

        DEFINITELY! Especially anytime there is congestion on the northbound West Side Highway resulting from an accident, heavy volume, or some ridiculous private activity assaulting public space, like the Triathlon, the 5-Boro Bike thing, etc.

        As anyone whose windows overlook WEA knows, the problem is really bad on the northbound side when hordes of suburbanites and/or outer-boro types frustrated in their attempt to flee the boro they hate sit in their metallic shells and protest by constantly honking their horns, to no avail, of course.

        So thank you CB7 for making everyone’s life a little more upsetting.

    8. robert says:

      Someone should find out why the DOT needs to have its contractors work early on Saturday mornings, not only because it disturbs the area’s residents who may want to sleep a bit later that day but because it likely pays a premium for such work. This work should take place during the week and in any case after 10 a.m. on a weekend day, not any earlier.
      The DOT has been mismanaged for years now and needs a change at the top. One lane in each direction on West End Avenue is as dumb as painting bike lanes (at taxpayers expense) on streets that didn’t need them and are ignored by bicyclists anyway.

    9. BZee says:

      If all the naysayers on this post..and other posts related to the to the changes..went to the meetings and have concerns about the plan –then fine. However, my guess is probably many did not. And there were plenty of opportunities for people to go to these meetings and put their two cents in. If you couldn’t make the meetings, you could have contacted the DO T . Also Helen Rosenthal’s office. Her staff has been responsive. It may be far from a perfect plan but it’s still a start. There will be more meetings. Put your words into action.

    10. stuart says:

      I called DOT yesterday afternoon before the vote, and was told that the redesign was a done deal, and that it’s been in the works for more than a year. They said all my concerns as noted in previous postings (don’t redesign until the 25 mph speed limit is in effect for a year, ticket cyclists who ride against traffic or do not observice traffic lights, campaign against jaywalking, etc) is an issue for the police department. So why have a vote?

    11. Miles says:

      I think you have this backwards (or am I screwed up):

      “Southbound left turns would be banned from West End on 95th, and northbound lefts would be banned on 97th.’

      95th street heads east, if you make a left turn, you’d be heading north

      97th street heads west, if you turn left you would be heading south!!!

      • West Sider says:

        The left turn is from West End to the side streets. I realize the wording makes it a little confusing. Avi

        • Dr. David C Belgray says:

          Interesting objectives, but “incomplete staff work” which should include all the questions arising in the prior comments. It also lacks any quantified analysis of resulting traffic in the single lane, elapsed time – before and after the changes from 79th St. to 97th St for example, etc etc. Still lacks, therefore, a professionally complete analysis

    12. robert says:

      WHile we’re on the subject of traffic, is anyone bothered by the backup beeping sounds UPS trucks seem to think are necessary when they’re double parked on the street, not only impeding traffic but causing a lot of unnecessary noise as well. There is no law that requires a truck to put on its backup signal when parked (even illegally) so why is this allowed to happen. Right now I’ve been hearing this backup signal under my window for over 45 minutes while the UPS driver is making his rounds and while his double parked truck is causing periodic huge traffic jams (and a near crash of a No. 5 bus and a SUV. How do we get this stopped?

    13. WEA resident says:

      OMG, Removing one lane in each direction is a terrible plan. School buses stop, load and unload each morning and afternoon and already bring traffic to a standstill. Traffic on WEA will freeze under this new plan.

      What we need is total enforcement of existing speed and traffic rules, especially no commercial traffic on WEA.

      • Sam says:

        You should gain a better understanding of the plan, you seem to be misinformed. There will be a 13 foot wide “loading/unloading” lane on the right side of the street. This will accommodate vehicles such as buses that need to pull over and stop. All thru traffic will continue in the left lane.

    14. Diane says:

      There are sooo many homeless now on our streets. What can we do?? if anyone has any idea, please advise. We are going backwards- back to before our Mayor Guilliani days!

    15. Jeff says:

      As someone without a car, can’t say traffic is a big concern for me, but I do question a few aspects of this plan, including the removal of one lane between 72nd & 73rd — it’s very common for both southbound lanes on WEA to be backed up all the way to 73rd, and cutting capacity in half seems like it would only exacerbate things.

    16. Barbara says:

      This is misguided. Without being able to make a left from West End on to 97th there is no way to get to Riverside Drive until 110th street.
      You may find northbound cars making u turns on west end so that they can make a right to get to the drive.

    17. UWSKA says:

      Work has just begun on my stretch of West end @ W94th and it’s 9pm on Thursday. I live 12 floors up and can hear all the beeping and trucks over my air conditioner. I can only imagine what this sounds like to those living on lower floors. . . Completely inappropriate. West End is a residential street! This work should be done in the daytime!!!

    18. Upper West Sider says:

      I don’t get how CB 7 voted 39-1 in favor of this plan. How are residents of West End Avenue going to get in and out of taxicabs, load and unload cars or get deliveries, without disrupting traffic flow? I can only imagine that the CB 7 members do not own cars, if they did they could not possibly vote for this plan. Does anyone have any insight into whether or not CB 7 members own cars?

      • Steve says:

        If they didn’t (and that’s questionable), they’d actually represent Manhattan much more closely than if they did. Most New Yorkers don’t own cars — sorry.

      • Steve says:

        Btw, didn’t want to come across as too facetious. The fact of the matter is, the plan provides a wide parking lane for drop off and delivery. Too wide, in my opinion. But it’s there.

      • Sam says:

        As I mentioned above…

        You should gain a better understanding of the plan, you seem to be misinformed. There will be a 13 foot wide “loading/unloading” lane on the right side of the street. This will accommodate vehicles such as buses that need to pull over and stop. All thru traffic will continue in the left lane.

      • manhattan mark says:

        You won’t have to worry about getting into and out of cabs
        on west end avenue once this plan is executed…cabs will no
        longer use west end ave…you will have to go to broadway
        to get a cab.

    19. Upperwestsideguy says:

      Wow . Ny’ers are really very sad people with such murderous actions afoot they just roll over and over and over. I’ve lived all over and most civilized places would never accept this carnage. Chronic speeders should lose their driving rights and vehicles. I not saying zero tolerance, but you could make the fines really hurt and remove repeat offenders. Sigh, if only you had the desire to follow the law. Unfortunately for you not only do they not want to treat you as an equal nor does anyone want to follow the rules because we are corrupt spoiled NY’ers that are selfish and feel entitled to follow only the rules we want because the bottom line is THIS. The Police cannot enforce the law