New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan today announced the completion of a sweeping safety redesign on Delancey Street, shortening pedestrian crossings at 14 locations, increasing pedestrian space and crossing time, and enhancing signal timing and travel lanes for vehicles entering and exiting the bridge. Delancey from the foot of the Williamsburg Bridge to the Bowery saw nine people killed in the last seven years and 742 injured from 2006 to 2010, and DOT was part of a working group convened by State Sen. Daniel Squadron and consisting of elected officials and Community Board 3 to address intense pedestrian and vehicle volumes and conflicts. This redesign adds more than 21,000 square feet of pedestrian space throughout the corridor, restricts several vehicle turns and also simplifies travel lanes, making them more consistent where the number of lanes previously varied from block to block. A new vehicle access point at Clinton Street also eases the connection from the FDR Drive, eliminating the need for vehicles to travel through residential streets to reach the bridge via Norfolk Street. The Commissioner was joined by U.S. Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, State Sen. Daniel Squadron, CB 3 Chair Gigi Lee and Lower East Side BID Executive Director Bob Zuckerman at Delancey and Norfolk streets, where new pedestrian space that will be maintained by the Lower East Side BID has shortened the pedestrian crossing by 49 feet and added eight additional seconds of pedestrian crossing time.
“For too long, crossing Delancey was like crossing a river of traffic instead of a Lower East Side street, cutting residents and visitors off from their homes, schools and each other,” said Commissioner Sadik-Khan. “Enhancements like these can remake a street into a neighborhood boulevard that improves safety, creates community space and works better for everyone.”
“By working together, we were able to take dramatic steps toward a safer Delancey in a short amount of time. From shorter crossings to improved traffic flow, this is good news for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers alike,” said Senator Daniel Squadron, who convened the Delancey Street Safety Working Group, out of which came these improvements. “Now, our working group will continue to review and improve safety along the corridor. DOT deserves great credit for recognizing the safety crisis on Delancey and working together to so quickly make these improvements a reality.”
“These enhancements will mean less traffic on residential streets, safer crosswalks for pedestrians and a better experience for drivers,” said U.S. Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez.
“The safety improvements we are announcing today will save lives,” said Speaker Silver. “By making this street crossing shorter and easier, especially for seniors and children, we are making our neighborhood safer and boosting the quality of life for the countless number of people who use these busy intersections along Delancey Street every day. These improvements are necessary, welcomed, and they will help protect our community from future tragedies.”
“I am pleased that DOT is announcing a series of safety enhancements on Delancey Street, which has long been one of our city’s most dangerous crossings for pedestrians and cyclists,” said Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer. “The shortening of pedestrian crossings at 14 intersections is a particularly welcome improvement, because it will hopefully reduce the threat posed by oncoming traffic in the zone stretching from the foot of the Williamsburg Bridge to the Bowery. The changes being announced today—which echo concerns that my office and community groups have been voicing for years—will increase pedestrian space and crossing time, and enhance signal timing and travel lanes for vehicles entering and exiting the Bridge. Given the number of students, seniors and other New Yorkers who use this street every day it is crucial that government do all it can to make these crossings as safe as possible. I am gratified that the Department of Transportation has initiated them in concert with Community Board 3 and other groups.”
“I know the LES community has been watching the changes on Delancey Street very closely. Already these safety improvements have made crossing easier and helped pedestrians feel more secure,” Council Member Margaret Chin said. “Just as important is ensuring that the new traffic regulations are enforced, especially the no left turn at Essex Street. The job of keeping Delancey safe is not a done deal. This has to be a coordinated and continued effort on the part of our offices, DOT, and the NYPD. Pedestrian fatalities are too high across lower Manhattan. Overall, we have to take a look at what can be done to drastically improve the safety of our streets and sidewalks.”
“CB 3 is very pleased to be part of the collaborative response to safety problems on Delancey. DOT, working with our elected officials and the community board, designed a swift and sweeping plan that was implemented in record time,” said CB 3 Chair Gigi Lee. “Pedestrians feel much more secure in crossing Delancey, knowing the distance is shorter and the timing longer—and they can see the timing as they cross. Drivers can depend on consistency. The new vehicle access point at Clinton will address the long-time concerns of residents and businesses regarding traffic on residential streets.”
“We are excited to work in partnership with DOT and our elected officials to improve safety along the Delancey Street corridor for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists alike,” said Lower East Side BID Executive Director Bob Zuckerman. “We look forward to maintaining a thriving public plaza that will provide new public open space that our community has lacked for many years.”
In the last six years, there were 118 pedestrian injuries and six pedestrian fatalities along Delancey and DOT responded with pedestrian safety islands at major intersections, expanding sidewalks at the Allen Street malls and improving bicycle facilities to connect the Williamsburg Bridge with the Manhattan bike network via Clinton, Rivington, Suffolk and Stanton streets. These most recent efforts make use of DOT’s rapid response toolkit which allows the agency to address emerging safety concerns using inexpensive painted surfaces, flexible lane delineators, pavement markings, signal changes and signs. For drivers, mobility will also be improved by the restriction of left turns from Delancey onto Chrystie and the extension of the left-turn restrictions from Delancey Street to Allen Streets and from Essex Street onto Delancey from evening rush hours to all hours of the day.
Delancey is the most recent major corridor around the city to receive significant safety and mobility improvements, joining other major arteries across the boroughs, including Queens Boulevard, Grand Concourse in the Bronx, Hylan Boulevard on Staten Island, Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard in Manhattan and Fourth Avenue in Brooklyn. DOT also continues to install pedestrian countdown signals at major intersections, with 1,900 installed so far and it continues to roll out safety advertising campaigns addressed to pedestrians, cyclists and drivers alike. These and other efforts grew out of the agency’s landmark Pedestrian Safety Study and Action Plan, which was based on an examination of more than 7,000 crashes causing serious injuries or fatalities to pedestrians, and showed that serious pedestrian crashes are about two-thirds deadlier on wider street corridors such as Delancey Street.
For more information about DOT’s ongoing efforts to enhance safety, visit www.nyc.gov/dot.