The city recently placed plastic posts on 93rd Street and West End Avenue to force drivers to make more gradual left turns, but the early evidence indicates that drivers aren’t paying much attention.
A tipster sent in the photo above last week showing the intersection with the remnants of the plastic posts. He said that the posts are “a good idea in theory” but that drivers have repeatedly driven over them, leaving nubs that pose new hazards.
“Less than 24 hours after it was erected – squat in the middle of West End Avenue – two of the reflective posts were destroyed. After just a few days, all of them (each about a foot tall) have been knocked off by cars leaving six just little black plastic base mounts that drivers can’t see – especially at night.
It is an idiotic hazard that cars are constantly running over. At about 4:00 am a taxi drove over them and had a small accident.”
A spokesperson for the Department of Transportation wrote that a crew quickly fixed the smashed posts, and that the city may start using stronger materials.
“This treatment, installed earlier this month, is part of our Left Turn Calming Program and meant to mitigate the high rate of left turn bike and pedestrian injuries at this location. We have a dedicated maintenance crew that is responsible for repairing these treatments, and the 93rd Street/West End Avenue location was repaired today [last Wednesday]. We are also in the process of piloting more durable materials.”
West End Avenue has proven deadly for pedestrians in the past few years. Both 61-year-old Jean Chambers and 9-year-old Cooper Stock were killed by drivers making left turns onto West End. The driver who hit Chambers on 95th and West End took a particularly sharp left turn, as seen on a surveillance video from the scene. The avenue gets substantial traffic from the Henry Hudson Parkway, and drivers sometimes treat the avenue like an off-ramp instead of a residential street.
The DOT says that left-turn barriers have proven successful at forcing drivers to slow down. “In New York City intersections where Left Turn Traffic Calming Treatments have been implemented, median left turn speeds have decreased by 24.4%.”
This is not the first time that drivers slammed into safety barriers on West End Avenue.