March 21, 2023
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City Announces Major Water Supply Improvements and New 'Super Sidewalks' Completed Along Ninth Avenue in Midtown
Ribbon-cutting celebrates completion of $231 million upgrade of water distribution system; roadway reconstruction from West 59th to 50th Streets
Work was complemented by a major traffic redesign that widened sidewalks and upgraded New York City’s very first on-street protected bicycle lane
In 2023, DOT will work to further expand the protected bicycle network and improve pedestrian safety in Hell’s Kitchen – on nearby 10th Avenue and section of Ninth Avenue to the south
The major redesign of Ninth Avenue expands pedestrian space and upgrades New York City’s first on-street protected bicycle lane.
NEW YORK – New York City Department of Design and Construction (DDC) Commissioner Thomas Foley, New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez, New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Rohit T. Aggarwala, and City Council Member Erik Bottcher joined together today to celebrate the beginning of spring by cutting the ribbon on $231 million of upgrades to Manhattan's water distribution system, as well as safety improvements along one of Midtown's major corridors. The infrastructure project included a street redesign to reclaim more space for pedestrians on the busy corridor along with 14 miles of new water mains and sewers. Many of the water mains that were taken out of service were installed more than a century earlier. Officials also highlighted planned upcoming work this year to build protected bike lanes on nearby Tenth Avenue, and upgrades further south on Ninth Avenue.
"This massive undertaking is much more than meets the eye and installed 48-inch steel trunk mains through some of the most crowded parts of Manhattan while connecting neighborhoods to DEP's new Third Water Tunnel," said NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) Commissioner Thomas Foley. "DDC's In-House Design Team did a remarkable job here so that water supply improvements and street redesign could come together in one comprehensive rebuild of the area's infrastructure."
"This $231 million investment represents a significant upgrade of Manhattan's water distribution system, which means a continued reliable supply of the champagne of tap water for residents and businesses," said DEP Commissioner Rohit T. Aggarwala. "I'd like to thank our partners at DDC for their work on this important project and we're pleased it could be partnered with these pedestrian and safety improvements along 9th Avenue."
"This dynamic redesign of 9th Avenue is a shining example of city government and the community working together to improve our streets and sidewalks," said DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez. "Along with similar great work on Seventh and Eighth Avenues, DOT is continually looking for ways to enhance the safety of our public realm and address sidewalk congestion by balancing the needs of pedestrians, cyclists, and vehicles. I thank Mayor Adams, Commissioner Foley, Council Member Bottcher, and DOT staff for making this vital neighborhood street safer for all users."
"Tis the season to get outside, enjoy the weather and move," said Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan. "Movement and activity are key to health, and a healthier city begins with streets and sidewalks that give us the space to do both. We thank our partners at the Department of Transportation who help us keep NYC moving!"
"The new 'Super Sidewalks' of Ninth Avenue build on a key ingredient for economic recovery in Midtown: creation of great, safe spaces for people to walk and bike and patronize local businesses," said Chief Public Realm Officer Ya-Ting Liu. "Hats off to our city agencies for delivering these critical infrastructure upgrades above and below our city streets."
A $231 million infrastructure project creates connections at four sites in Manhattan to the City's Third Water Tunnel.
A Vision Zero Priority Corridor, Ninth Avenue is the busy commercial hub of Hell's Kitchen, home to many stores, and bars and restaurants – as well as a high volume of pedestrians. Popular with cyclists as a major southbound route, a southern section of Ninth Avenue became the first New York City street to host an on-street protected bicycle lane in 2007.
The project began as a major water main project by DEP and DDC that from 2012 to 2017 made connections at four Manhattan sites to the City's Third Water Tunnel. At the conclusion of that work, DEP added to the project more major water main work along 9th Avenue in the 50s. DOT then seized on that opportunity to complete with DDC a full roadway reconstruction and street redesign that provides a host of benefits to the corridor, including the installation of expanded sidewalks that reduce pedestrian congestion and shorten pedestrian crossings; updated intersection treatments for cyclists; and new commercial loading zones.
The expanded sidewalks on Ninth Avenue join Midtown's "Super Sidewalks", a growing DOT treatment to mitigate congested pedestrian corridors, such as Seventh and Eighth Avenues. "Super Sidewalks" are one of the newer strategies used as part of the City's ongoing commitment to reclaim public space for people and support safe, sustainable, and efficient transportation options.
INFRASTRUCTURE AND ROADWAY UPGRADES
As part of the project, DEP and DDC installed 18,000 feet of large steel trunk water mains and 51,000 feet of regular ductile iron water mains. While the streets were open, 5,000 feet of sewers along with catch basins were replaced. As part of the final street restoration, 650,000 square feet of roadway along with curbs and sidewalks were reconstructed.
Taking advantage of the water main work, and in close coordination with the community, DOT and DDC made several improvements to enhance safety and traffic flow along Ninth Avenue. Removing a southbound travel lane, work included the installation of painted sidewalk extensions in the roadway near the east curb from West 59th Street to 50th Street to create additional space for pedestrian movement; a protected bike lane along the east side of 9th Avenue; expanded commercial loading space by removing rush hour regulations on Ninth Avenue's western curb to increase the ease and efficiency of freight delivery; and redesigned intersections along the corridor with new pedestrian islands and what are known as "offset crossings." These crossings improve visibility between cyclists and turning drivers by reducing motorists' ability to make sharp-angled turns.
Work on Ninth Avenue continues this year with similar upgrades between West 30th and West 34th Streets. The project will mitigate pedestrian congestion by implementing a painted sidewalk expansion on the east side of Ninth Avenue. Pedestrian safety treatments, in coordination with the Moynihan Station Redevelopment, will be added, including a midblock crosswalk, three newly constructed pedestrian islands, and a painted curb extension. The redesign maintains a parking protected bike lane, a split phase left turn, and three consistent travel lanes. A Mixing Zone intersection where turning vehicles share the same space as bicyclists will transform into an offset crossing to improve visibility and slow drivers.
On 10th Avenue, DOT's planned redesign that will begin this year will bring parking-protected bike lanes from West 14th Street to 52nd Street. The design will have painted islands and offset crossings to improve visibility, slow turns, and shorten crossing distances. The project will also include dedicated bike and pedestrian signal phases at key intersections.
"Today's opening of the new "super sidewalk" with additional traffic calming measures along Ninth Avenue brings us closer to achieving a Vision Zero future in New York, said Rep. Jerrold Nadler. "When we reconfigure our streets to prioritize safety over speed, we can save lives while making our pedestrian spaces more welcoming for residents and visitors alike. I look forward to my continued partnership with the City to reclaim our public spaces for pedestrians and bicyclists to make our streets safer for all."
"I'm grateful to Mayor Adams, the City Administration and Council Bottcher for this major redesign in Hell's Kitchen that will make our streets safer for cyclists, pedestrians and motorists alike," said State Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal. Our constituents have been concerned about this stretch of 9th Avenue for years. It's wonderful to see these problems finally addressed in a comprehensive, cross-agency manner that will hopefully serve as a roadmap for other street redesigns across the city."
"The completed and upcoming redesigns of 9th Avenue in Hell's Kitchen are the exact changes New Yorkers have been seeking and I am very pleased by these improvements for pedestrians, bikers, and drivers," said Assemblymember Tony Simone. "Street and sidewalk upgrades like this, that enhance safety and efficiency for everybody, should continue to move forward in all neighborhoods."
"Investments in street infrastructure are investments in the safety of pedestrians, cyclists and drivers alike," said NYC Council Majority Whip Selvena N. Brooks-Powers, Chair of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. "I commend the administration for their efforts to protect and improve access to the Ninth Avenue corridor, and I look forward to continued citywide investment in street safety infrastructure, including in historically underserved communities."
"The Ninth Avenue water main project has been going on longer than many New Yorkers can remember. Upgrading our infrastructure is vital but the construction can be tough on the community, especially small businesses," said NYC Council Member Erik Bottcher. "With this new project complete, we can be assured that the West Side's city water infrastructure is secure for decades to come. We also now have a newly designed Ninth Avenue that will be safer for pedestrians and cyclists. I want to thank the workers at the Department of Environmental Protection, The Department of Design and Construction, and Department of Transportation, as well as Community Board 4 and everyone else who helped make this possible."
"Manhattan Community Board 4 is excited to have its street back, and with an expanded pedestrian zone, too, thanks to the important public works project finally being completed on upper Ninth Avenue," said Jeffrey LeFrancois, Chair of Manhattan Community Board 4. "Upgrading infrastructure to meet the needs of today and tomorrow is critical, and the West Side proves again that a single project can benefit the whole community. With the water main project now complete, MCB4 looks forward to working with the Department of Transportation to continue improving the rest of the Ninth Avenue corridor."
"The City's commitment to protected bike lanes goes hand-in-hand with Citi Bike's enduring and growing popularity," said Anna Pycior, Senior Policy Manager for Transit, Bikes, and Scooters at Lyft. "Our close collaboration with Mayor Adams and the NYC DOT has ensured that Citi Bike is key to getting New Yorkers out of their cars with safe and sustainable transportation options."
"More equitable streets lead to a safer and more equitable city; and we applaud Mayor Adams, Commissioners Rodriguez, Foley, and Aggarwalla, and Council Member Bottcher for reimagining this section of Ninth Avenue to better serve the needs of pedestrians, bicyclists, and yes, even motorists," said Ken Podziba, President and CEO of Bike New York. This much-needed 'Super Sidewalk' in Hell's Kitchen is a giant step in the right direction toward the City fulfilling its commitment to reclaim public spaces for people. We of course look forward to working with the City to create more major traffic redesigns, like this extraordinary one, that will improve the quality of life for all."
"The redesign of 9th Avenue creates a new balance that much better reflects the way the corridor is actually used, giving a healthy dose of new 'super sidewalks' to residents, workers, and tourists who for far too long have been squeezed to the margins while motor vehicles have dominated the streetscape." Said Eric McClure, Executive Director of SreetsPAC. "It's fitting that the redesign also upgrades the biking experience on the city's first parking-protected bike lane with offset crossings that further enhance safety on this heavily used cycling route. We applaud Mayor Adams and his administration for these important improvements."
"The vast majority of New Yorkers in Hell's Kitchen don't own cars, but most public space in this neighborhood has long been dedicated to private automobiles," said Anna Melendez, Manhattan Organizer at Transportation Alternatives. "This street redesign will allow the community to better use and enjoy our city's public spaces while also building safer streets for pedestrians, bike riders, and motorists. We're excited to see a new and improved 9th Avenue, and hope to see many similar projects on equally dangerous roads across all five boroughs."