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January 10, 2017

DDC Improves Pedestrian Ramps in Lower Manhattan in Project One-Third Under Budget

Fourteen new catch basins to improve stormwater drainage

Shavone Williams

Dan Leibel

New York, NY –  The New York City Department of Design and Construction (DDC) announced today that it has completed the installation of 21 new ADA-compliant pedestrian ramps, plus 14 new catch basins to improve stormwater drainage, at intersections in Manhattan neighborhoods south of 23rd Street. All 21 of the ramps were located at intersections with complex installation issues, such as close proximity to sewers, fire hydrants or utility lines. The project, which was managed by DDC for the NYC Department of Transportation, was completed for $1.25 million, 33 percent under the allocated budget of $1.877 million.

“DDC works with DOT to improving pedestrian safety in various ways throughout the City,” said DDC Commissioner Feniosky Peña-Mora. “These new pedestrian ramps are safer for everyone and provide easier access for New Yorkers who are disabled, visually impaired, or in wheelchairs. I applaud the hard work of the project team for completing the project on schedule and considerably under budget.”

The new pedestrian ramps are located in neighborhoods including Chinatown, Little Italy, and the East and West Village. In several cases, sidewalks and curbs were elevated to divert water from streets and sidewalks into the new catch basins. To date, the City has installed new pedestrian ramps at 157,161 corners (96.8 percent of the City's 162,355 corners), according to DOT.

pedestrian ramps
Detectable warning surfaces were installed on 21 new pedestrian ramps in lower Manhattan (NYCDDC)

The project was led by DDC Resident Engineer Stephen Miller, a veteran civil engineer who has been a Resident Engineer for New York City for 16 years.

“This project facilitates safe conditions for pedestrian and vehicular traffic,” said Miller, 47, a veteran civil engineer who has spent 11 years working as a Project Manager/Resident Engineer for New York City. “These improvements serve the greater good and provide a great sense of equity for New Yorkers in the disabled community.”

“Detectable warning surfaces, the raised bumps that indicate to pedestrians with impaired vision when the sidewalk begins and ends, were installed on each of the 21 corners that were reconstructed. Cracked sidewalks were smoothed to reduce the risk of tripping accidents, and street light poles and manholes containing utility lines for Con-Edison and Verizon were relocated to streamline the pedestrian paths down sidewalks. All work stayed within existing curb lines,” he said.

DDC’s Stephen Miller, a Resident Engineer
DDC’s Stephen Miller, a Resident Engineer who has worked on infrastructure projects in Manhattan since 2006, managed the construction of 21 complex pedestrian ramps and 14 catch basins, and completed the project using only two-thirds of the budgeted amount

Coordination between the DDC, DOT, utility companies, general contractor Triumph Construction, and local businesses was carefully managed by Miller and the project team, and ultimately resulted in an 8-month construction schedule that minimally interfered with the day-to-day activities of the people in the work locations.

Miller credits the expedited schedule and reduced costs to a great project team which was simultaneously goal oriented and empathetic to residents.

“All of the complexities were handled in a way that allowed us to complete the big picture,” said Miller, who immigrated to the United States from the Caribbean island Grenada in 2000. “I believe there needs to be good quality of life for all – the stakeholders, the community – and we are able to push towards that goal by being detail oriented and knowledgeable about design and field conditions.”

Miller is currently leading a similar team to construct 48 complex pedestrian ramps around various locations in Manhattan.

“I love construction,” Miller said. “I’m technically oriented and I have a natural inclination for the field and construction management. I’m always improving my design knowledge and enhancing my management skills. I’m glad to be able to provide better living conditions for New Yorkers.”


About the NYC Department of Design and Construction
The Department of Design and Construction is the City’s primary capital construction project manager. In supporting Mayor de Blasio’s lenses of growth, sustainability, resiliency, equity and healthy living, DDC provides communities with new or renovated public buildings such as such as firehouses, libraries, police precincts, new or upgraded roadways, sewers, water mains in all five boroughs. To manage this $15 billion portfolio, DDC partners with other City agencies, architects and consultants, whose experience bring efficient, innovative, and environmentally-conscious design and construction strategies to city projects. For more information, please visit