Two Months After Repaving Starts, West End Avenue Left in ‘Alarming’ State

By Lisa Kava

A 12-block stretch on West End Avenue has been without any pedestrian crosswalk markings for the past eight weeks. A repaving project on West End between 60th street and 72nd has dragged on in a semi-complete state, and calls by residents and Council Member Helen Rosenthal have not yet spurred action.

One resident tells us that the area from 69th Street to 72nd Street on West End was repaved within a few days after the top layer of the street was “milled” to get it ready for a new surface. But the area from 60th to 69th was left bumpy, dusty and unpaved for another five weeks “It was like walking through a dust storm” he said. The second area (between 60th and 69th streets) was finally repaved about three weeks ago but that “there still are no pedestrian crosswalk markings making it eight weeks of time total where there are no markings.”

“The entire situation is very alarming, there are schools with children including those in pre-k, crossing in both directions and there is no crosswalk for them. It is a busy two way street with more activity than may other Upper West Side avenues.”

He contacted 311 and received a response saying “The Department of Transportation has inspected the condition reported. The DOT processed your service request and plans to add this location into a future pavement marking work schedule. Thank you for reporting your observations and concerns.”

We walked the stretch on West End Avenue beginning at 60th street and up to 72nd street. Other than pedestrian crosswalks at 60th street, the south side of the block at 61st street and the north side of the block at 72nd street, the entire area is just an open road with no pedestrian crosswalks markings at all and many people crossing the avenue west to east and east to west where the crosswalks are supposed to be in place. Additionally, there are minimal lane markings for cars in the road.

A second neighborhood resident told West Side Rag that she has lived in the area for 20 years and that it now seems busier than ever. She also pointed out that because of the relocation of PS 452 to 61st Street, there are many parents and children walking up and down West End Avenue to get to and from school. “It is such an incredibly well-traveled and populated area in particular around the times of school arrival and dismissal.” The resident, who has young children, said that the block she finds most troublesome is the intersection on West 70th Street. “You have northbound and southbound traffic trying to make both right and left turns to get onto West 70th Street. I am a frequent driver and pedestrian and can appreciate how difficult that corner is to navigate from both perspectives. When you are a driver you have to be very aggressive in order to make that turn and the pedestrian is your last thought.” The intersection she is referring to, like the rest of the stretch of road, currently does not have any pedestrian crosswalks.

Council Member Helen Rosenthal issued the following statement to West Side Rag: “My office has been pushing the Department of Transportation to replace the crosswalks on West End Avenue for almost a month. This is a very serious public safety issue. A constituent first contacted our office on November 9th, after the DOT had just finished repaving. We responded based on DOT’s normal procedures, in which they would return to paint as soon as all the repaving of the avenue was complete. The DOT has told us that repainting the crosswalks is a priority, but has not given us an exact date. This is unacceptable and we will continue to push them on this issue.”

A DOT spokesperson told West Side Rag in a statement “As a direct response to community concerns, DOT installed temporary lane lines on West End Avenue from 57th Street to 72nd Street. DOT is prioritizing work on this project based on safety and weather conditions.” It seems that the “temporary lane lines” the spokesperson is referring to are the white lane lines for cars that are visible on certain blocks in the area. One of them can be seen in the photo below on left side of the man walking.

We asked the spokesperson to specifically address the missing pedestrian crosswalks and received the following response “DOT does not install temporary crosswalks, however we are actively working to complete this project. As mentioned in our last statement, DOT is prioritizing work on this project based on safety and weather conditions.”

Photos by Lisa Kava.

NEWS | 21 comments | permalink
    1. Alex says:

      They did the same thing when they repaved 96th – missing crosswalks at Columbus and CPW

    2. Robert Levit says:

      Maintenance and repaving of our streets has become a major issue. Just look at the work–or lack thereof–on West 80 Street and surrounding areas. Major discomfort for all prolonged by incompetent project management.

    3. B'way Mo says:

      So much for “Vision Zero.”

    4. Good work by the West Rag for publicizing this situation and putting pressure on the city. We’re lucky to have Helen Rosenthal as our UWS City Council member but if might also help to have more residents of the UWS call 311 about getting immediate action from the DOT and the City. See Department of squeaky wheel for justification for above efforts.

    5. Phoebe says:

      Thank you. Maybe NOW my mother will believe me when I tell her to be more careful.pp

    6. Pedestrian says:

      Why is anyone surprised? The humans on the upper west side only matter when they pay taxes and vote. Once those two functions are taken care of the only entities that matter are developers, large land owners and , of course, big donors. For big donors, other wise known as friends, the mayor pulls strings.

      • Christina says:

        I would think it would be quite obvious where to stop, considering there are corners and traffic lights on these corners! People need to Think!!! And realize the obvious!!! It’s really quite simple!

    7. Frightened Pedestrian says:

      I know the area well, and agree that it’s dangerous. Drivers are left guessing as to where they’re supposed to stop for a red light. How much “prioritizing” does D.O.J. need to get this job done? Till this weekend’s snow, the weather has been optimal. No further approvals or street openings are required. What does this tell us about the competence of our city government if D.O.J. can’t get this done right away?

    8. Ed says:

      Another example of the low priority being given to PEDESTRIAN SAFETY on UWS by DeBlasio and his administration!!!! So much for VISION ZERO!!! Maybe he should concentrate on fixing Iowa’s traffic issues!!!

    9. nycityny says:

      What’s most dangerous are 67th and 69th Streets where there are no actual intersections due to the Lincoln Towers complex. There are light signals but no clear delineation as to where the cars are supposed to stop. So pedestrian crossing is a guess for both walkers and drivers.

      • ScooterStan says:

        Re: “….no clear delineation as to where the cars are supposed to stop”

        NYC drivers are SO SMART. When the overhead signal turns RED they instinctively STOP!

        When it turns GREEN they instinctively GO!


        Works every time!

        Yay, drivers!

        • EagleEye says:

          ScooterStan: Your “So Smart” NYC drivers killed 144 pedestrians last year. Almost 3/week. I am sure they maimed may times that number. Thoughts?

    10. The Streetwalker says:

      This ‘local’ would like to ‘express’ an opinion: The re-paving is really nice: smooth and with no bumps-‘n’-lumps!

      Sure, there aren’t YET any painted cross-walks, but in this “D.I.Y” era that is easily solved.

      Here’s how:
      1. Stand at one corner of the street.
      2. Face the corner to which you would like to cross.
      3. When the light turns GREEN start walking across the street, keeping your gaze fixed on that desired corner. Walk directly. Veer neither left nor right.
      4. Finally, step up onto the sidewalk via the curb-cut.

      THERE! YOU’VE DONE IT! You’ve crossed the street without a crosswalk!

      Good job!!!

      Next week’s lesson: Opening a Door!

      • Frightened Pedestrian says:

        Listen, smart ass, it’s not only pedestrians who need the crosswalks, it’s drivers, too. See comments 7 & 9. Not to mention school kids, who need a bit more consideration than you’re prepared to offer. And as for your instruction to keep gaze fixed on the desired corner, eventually someone following that course, i.e., not looking both ways, will be whammed by a delivery guy on a bike who doesn’t know from traffic rules or a driver running a red light.

    11. Barry Lipton says:

      A deep trench on the entire block between West 79th and West 80th Streets on West End Avenue was dug about two weeks ago for “electrical work”, which is supposed to last for up to two months. There is no entry into any of the buildings on the block other than an concessional steel plate put down to serve as a ramp in front of 400 West End Avenue. Those arriving to go into a building on the block, whether by car, taxi or on foot have to enter the block from the intersection of 79th and West End, making it especially difficult and dangerous for the disabled and seniors. On top of this, there are no longer any mailboxes at this intersection due to the construction. The closest mailbox is now at Broadway and 79th.

      • lynn says:

        Does ANYONE here call 311? I only ask because if as many people complained to 311 as they do on this board things might get accomplished a lot quicker.

    12. David Totises says:

      DeBlasio is too busy with the statues, napping and hanging out at the gym. So glad to be paying more and more taxes each year – income taxes, real estate taxes, tolls…

    13. Fabe Fox says:

      The intersections at West End Avenue and 69th and 68th Streets do not have actual cross streets, but are pedestrian crossings used by many pedestrians including children and elderly people. Even when there are crosswalks painted, many drivers go through the intersections on red lights. These streets should have red light cameras. In addition, 66th Street and 70th Street should have left turn arrows to allow cars to turn left without going through red lights, or being unduly aggressive.