Press Releases

Press Release #12-44

Seth Solomonow/Scott Gastel (212) 839-4850

NYC DOT Announces Completion Of “6 ½ Avenue,” Connecting Midtown Public Spaces With New, Safer Pedestrian Crossings

Six midblock pedestrian arcades between West 51st and 57th streets now linked by crosswalks

New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan today announced the completion of 6 ½ Avenue in Midtown Manhattan, creating a new pedestrian avenue in the heart of midtown. DOT installed new crosswalks to connect and enhance access to these existing, hidden midblock pedestrian spaces. Running about a quarter-mile between and parallel to 6th and 7th avenues from West 51st to 57th streets, the 6 ½ Avenue project brings midblock, high-visibility pedestrian crosswalks, reflective markers and Stop signs for traffic on cross streets, reducing conflicts between motorists and pedestrians. The public spaces connect residential and commercial buildings and these new connections also ease access to local buildings and businesses for the area’s thousands of residents, employees and visitors. Before the project, up to 1,200 pedestrians an hour would cross midblock to reach these plazas at its busiest location, entering the street from between parked vehicles and without established crosswalks.

“We're making changes to enhance the valuable pedestrian space that we already have throughout the city,” said Commissioner Sadik-Khan. “Even lifelong New Yorkers aren’t aware that some of these places exist, hidden within buildings in the densest part of the city. These enhancements will tap into these spaces and energize them with foot traffic.”

The six spaces connected by these new crosswalks are part of more than 500 areas citywide known as Privately Owned Public Spaces, which were built near ground level of newly constructed buildings. The spaces that comprise 6 ½ Avenue were created between 1984 and 1990 and include commercial, hotel and residential buildings, with public spaces ranging from open plazas and atria to wide lobbies and enclosed corridors. The new crossings shorten trips eliminating the need for pedestrians to travel back and forth to the main avenues to reach midblock locations. At each crossing the sidewalks were extended using crushed gravel and furnished with benches in some locations, further establishing them as pedestrian areas. Adjacent property owners will clean the newly enlarged pedestrian areas, with the businesses maintaining planters and benches.

In 2011, Manhattan's Community Board 5 requested that DOT study the possibility of pedestrian crosswalks to link these disconnected spaces. A DOT analysis found up to 1,200 pedestrians an hour already crossing 51st Street alone at midblock without the benefit of crosswalks, passing from between parked trucks and other vehicles. The board overwhelmingly supported the plan earlier this year, which improves visibility and clearly establishes crossings without significantly affecting crosstown traffic.

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