Overview of 135th Street between Lenox Avenue and the Harlem River Drive.
Transportation alternatives’ Safe Routes for Seniors campaign is a New York State Department of Health funded effort to encourage walking by making streets safer. Now in the third year, the campaign engages neighborhoods in Harlem, as well as Washington Heights and Inwood. While the people, places and streets change, many of the solutions to problematic intersections remain the same. In the case presented here people living in the Riverton Houses at 135th and Madison Avenue in Manhattan are essentially stranded during much of the day when to venture out means braving one of New York City’s most dangerous intersections.
When there are many pedestrians on the streets there is a “safety in numbers” effect, making crossing more tolerable. But at certain times of the day, there are only a few pedestrians willing to brave the intersection, many of them seniors crossing with turning trucks and buses. The results range from unnerving to tragic. At right are some problems faced by local seniors. More importantly there are solutions for each problem, developed in the Safe Routes for Seniors’ first street re-design workshop at the Central Harlem Senior Citizen’s Coalition located a few blocks from 135th and Madison.
Two problems have been mentioned by all of the seniors we have surveyed. They do not have enough time to cross the street, and vehicles do not yield to them in the crosswalks. The tenants’ association at Riverton Houses has already fought and won additional protected crossing time at 135th Street and Madison Avenue. This small, inexpensive change gives local seniors hope and courage that they can win additional, much needed improvements.
Top 3 Problems
instead of two pedestrian ramps at each corner.
accessible ramps on all corners.
Extending medians into crosswalk would make this crossing safer.
Top 3 Problems:
1. Cars and
trucks turn into people in crosswalks.
curbs into street to put pedestrians before cars.
Wide streets lead to speeding and unpredictable vehicular movements.
Top 3 Problems:
1. Cars and trucks turn into
people in crosswalks.
1. Extend curbs into streets and
place bollards mid-crosswalks to stop cars from turning diagonally into
Pedestrians and cars battle for the same crossing times.