Major Safety Upgrades Coming This Summer to the Manhattan Bridge Approach

Posted on: May 13th, 2015 at 5:04 am by
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Some major enhancements are afoot at the mouth of the Manhattan Bridge. The entire configuration of the city-side approach will soon change. Official proposal from the Department of Transportation gained approval to proceed last night after the Transportation subcommittee of Community Board 3 voted unanimously.

The request for improvements at the mouth of the bridge actually originated from “local stakeholders” and Councilwoman Margaret Chin’s office. This intersection was designated a priority by the city as a “Vision Zero location,” and with good reason. The confluence of roads and its archipelago of concrete medians together rank in the top 10% of locations in Manhattan with crashes resulting in fatalities or severe injuries. Bottom line, increased safety is paramount.

So, the DOT assembled a remedy in the form of a Rapid Response Toolkit. This is the preferred course of action when immediate attention is needed. It relies more on quick fixes rather than a capital works project which would inevitably become mired in delays and cash quagmires.

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The top-level goal of the infrastructural overhaul is to improve safety on the Manhattan side of the bridge. This includes a mixed bag of measures including implementation of curb extensions, median tip extension, crossing signals, painted pedestrian space, and making the lower roadway inbound at all times.

Below is a simple crib sheet of the proposed upgrades. Implementation should begin at the end of the summer and fully operational by September.

  • The lower roadway – consisting of two lanes – will be inbound only at all times (except emergency). Right now, it’s Brooklyn-bound from 3pm-9pm daily, “creating unpredictability and driver error leading to traffic conflicts.”
  • New signal and crosswalk on the Manhattan Bridge off-ramp extension (aka “Bowery Slip”).
  • Both triangular medians would receive concrete extensions to shorten crossing times. As it stands, some 1,500 pedestrians cross this area every hour.
  • Motorists on the North Upper Roadway will no longer be able to turn left onto westbound Canal Street. That traffic will be funneled north onto Chrystie. Traffic signs to the effect are planned for installation on the Brooklyn side.
  • Two outbound lanes on Canal Street will connect with the Upper Roadway at all times.

The DOT will present this project to the Brooklyn Community Board 2 Transportation Committee next Tuesday, May 19.

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