Some of Neighborhood’s ‘Most Dangerous’ Blocks Still Have No Crosswalks or Lane Markings

The city has left 96th street without lane markings or crosswalks for months.

By Lisa Kava

Major streets on the Upper West Side have gone without pedestrian crosswalks or lane markings for cars for months. Drivers routinely encroach into the areas where there used to be crosswalks, forcing pedestrians to veer closer to oncoming traffic to get around them, according to residents.

West End Avenue between 61st and 72nd Street has not had any permanent pedestrian crosswalks or lane markings since a street repaving project took place last fall. West 96th Street between Central Park West and West End Avenue — an area that police officials have repeatedly said is one of the most dangerous stretches in the neighborhood — has not had any pedestrian crosswalks or lane markings since at least early December, according to one resident of the block.

It’s a situation we’ve chronicled for months, but locals say they have seen little progress.

In December, the DOT drew temporary crosswalks on West End. But they faded within weeks, according to a neighborhood resident. “In mid February, preliminary lines and crosswalks again appeared,” he continued. “Unfortunately, since then, due to weather, car and foot traffic the lines have faded. So nothing is being accomplished.”

West End Avenue at 72nd Street where the temporary crosswalks have faded.

We walked along West 96th Street from Central Park West to West End Avenue earlier this week and found that there are currently no pedestrian crosswalks at all in the North-South direction and very limited temporary line markings on this block. According to Lisa Gurley, a resident who lives on West 96th Street, the street was repaved in December. In February, when the street remained without crosswalks or line markings, Gurley contacted 311 and received a response to her complaint saying a ticket for lack of pavement markings would be opened and that it may take up to 30 days for a resolution. “Amsterdam and West 96th Street seems to be the most scary to me,” Gurley said. “Cars do not know where to stop and people end up walking farther out into the intersection. I’ve seen several near misses.”

West Side Rag reached out again to both the Department of Transportation (DOT) and Council Member Helen Rosenthal to see why it is taking so long to install permanent markings.

“Both West End Avenue and West 96 Street are high priority locations and work is expected to begin this week,” a DOT spokesman said in a statement. “As mentioned in our previous statement, installation is based on safety and weather conditions.”

The DOT had told us in December that the department was “actively working to complete this project.”

There is a major storm expected to hit the city on Wednesday, which could make the project unfeasible again.

Rosenthal criticized the DOT in a statement to West Side Rag.

“The lack of cross-walks on West End Avenue between 61st and 72nd streets, and along West 96th Street, is a public safety issue plain and simple. It is critical that a clear visible path exist for pedestrians as they cross the street. The Department of Transportation has confirmed to us that they will paint in cross-walks at these locations as soon as the winter weather season is over, as the paint requires warmer temperatures to affix permanently. This was poor planning on DOT’s part. They strove to repave as many streets as possible last year but they did not allocate enough time for the second and equally important part of the process, repainting cross-walks.”

The continuing delays are frustrating people who walk on the blocks. “Six months is way too long for a busy street like West End Avenue to go without crosswalks, stop signs and lane markings,” the West End Avenue resident said. “This is a street that hundreds of schoolchildren cross every day to get to and from school. Our city officials seem to be only paying lip service to pedestrian safety.”

“I hope that with a little pressure the city will fix the situation,” Gurley said. “It is very frustrating that a dangerous situation would go so long unattended, especially given the Mayor’s Vision Zero emphasis.”

NEWS | 28 comments | permalink
    1. Javier says:

      We should be like Kramer and just paint the lines ourselves. See what happens.

    2. dannyboy says:

      I see cars attempting to “push by” pedestrians in crosswalks. Also, when driving I stop to give pedestrians their right-of-way in crosswalks (I use the term loosely, I should write “imagined” crosswalks, due to lack of painting), and get horns blown from the cars behind me because they want full speed ahead, damn the pedestrian right-of-way.

    3. GrumpyOldMan says:

      The Department of Transportation has proven itself to be one of the several very ineffective agencies in city government. And the real threat to pedestrian safety for Upper West Siders has yet to fully emerge: the planned closing of the 79th Street exit from the HHP so as to repair the rotunda and upper roadway. This dumb ass decision threatens all pedestrians on the Upper West Side and is further proof that the empty suits in city government care only for the forests and could care less about the trees that populate that forest.

    4. Maryjane says:

      Does this surprise anyone with “Mayor” Dibozo and his co-mayor (wife) at the helm.

    5. Woody says:

      The project would probably be done sooner but there’s a shortage of overpaid union workers who can hold a stop sign. Without them, drivers and pedestrians could not drive, cross the street, or walk by a construction site safely.

    6. Brian says:

      It will take someone getting killed on one of these streets for the DOT to care.

    7. ron shapley says:

      Vision Zero…..another DiBlasio scam ~~

    8. Debbie D. says:

      Thats also just plain BS around paint. The northwest corner of the drive in central park (starting just before Harlem Hill and finishing in the low 90s) was repaved this winter, and they have completed all striping and marking.

    9. James says:

      Ironically, the street has already been beaten up in some spots since it was paved. So the street is not even if top condition before the job is done.

      How do they paint street lines in Alaska?

    10. Lynn says:

      The entire 96th street area on the UWS is a mess. They should never have built the 96th street IRT subway station in the middle of Broadway, sometimes requiring commuters to wait for two lights to reach the station. Many years ago, the city learned a lesson it has not forgotten, when, after several pedestrian deaths, it built entrances on either side of Broadway and 116th street, and removed the old, but architecturally interesting, station in the middle of Broadway.

      • Lynn says:

        That should be “it has forgotten,”

      • Bruce Bernstein says:

        i have to disagree with you about the Bway – 96th Street subway kiosk, Lynn. it is a vast improvement. Among other things, it has handicapped access, a broad stairway, and we no longer have to walk down two flights and then up a flight. In addition, there is the nice plaza on the north side of the station, which is very well used.

        I am not sure what you mean by “wait for two lights.” is this coming from the north? I come from the west side on 95th street and have to wait for a short light. A very minor inconvenience, at worst.

        On the north side (96th and Bway), the traffic flow and crosswalks are much much safer, including a crosswalk north-south on the Bway island itself. the same on the 95th street side, albeit slightly different markings — a vast improvement in safe crossings.

        the crossing at 95th and West End, where there was at least one fatality, is much safer, with a protective island in the middle.

        • dannyboy says:

          Bruce, We have discussed some of this before:

          Yes “the crossing at 95th and West End, where there was at least one fatality, is much safer, with a protective island in the middle.”, BUT the crossing at 96th and West End has become much more dangerous as the result of the traffic changes on 95th and 97th.

          Same goes for “I come from the west side on 95th street and have to wait for a short light. A very minor inconvenience, at worst.” Again the problem has been pushed to 96th Street, switch to that entrance if you want to understand what Lynn is talking about.

          As in everything else in our neighborhood, we need to keep the whole community in mind.

          • Bruce Bernstein says:

            Danny, there is nothing inherent in the islands on 95th and 97th at West End that “pushes the problem” to 96th. i wouldn’t say 96 and WEnd Ave are more dangerous BECAUSE of 95/97 changes.

            I often get off the train at the north entrance. in this case, i DON’T understand what Lynn is talking about. the traffic markings and pedestrian flow at Bway and 96th are safer, not less so. waiting for the extra light to get to the island is also a minor inconvenience there.

            they have to fix W End and 96th, that is the main remaining problem.

    11. Lj says:

      95th & Amsterdam north corneris the worst crosswalk. Cars coming from both direction trying to criss cross to 96th east or west corners.

    12. Joanna says:

      What’s the most effective way for us to pressure the city?

      • Jen says:

        Good question. Can anybody help with answering it without pointing fingers or going into a lengthy demagogue? Help with this question is really appreciated.

    13. Lincoln10023 says:

      So much for ‘Vision Zero’ on the UWS!

    14. EscaroleNYC says:

      The DOT is too busy on other priorities to take care of these basics. For example, continuing to implement its traffic choking strategy, spending time and public monies to narrow major thoroughfares like 86th St by expanding sidewalks into the street (see the Lexington Ave intersection).

    15. Mark Moore says:

      Someone was parked this weekend on the SW corner of Columbus and 96th in what would have been the crosswalk had one existed. Paint some lines already DOT.

    16. kathleen Treat says:

      This really stinks. What can we do when the DOT will not listen to our elected officials – let alone cooperate. Seniors and the disabled and ALL New Yorkers are at serious risk!

    17. Vivian Ducat says:

      In the early 70’s, when we lived at 322 west 72nd, my father saw three older women mowed down while crossing the 72nd and West End crossing you show in the photograph. He badgered the mayors office repeatedly and a sign finally went up asking people to watch for pedestrians. I can’t believe that all these years later, there is still no pedestrian safety in that same crossing!

      • Jen says:

        Is there any way you can tech to the current mayors office with this information. Long history of the issues coming from someone who was involved in this many years ago should make a difference.

        Your father did a great thing, I thank him for that.

    18. ST says:

      Useless Helen strikes again.

    19. dannyboy says:

      I figure they don’t want to wastethe crosswalk paint at 96th & WEA (picture with man in wheelchair above) because that’s where the seniors from the Williams cross. And the children from PS 75 cross. And the people catching the crosstown bus cross. And the people headed to the “new, improved” subway spaceship station cross. And all the cars getting on and off the West Side Highway converge, and…

    20. Christina says:

      I would hope that people would have sense enough to stop right before the indent at curb. Not to hard to figure out approx. where to stop even without markings on road.