Port Authority Decides Church and Vesey Doesn’t Need Safety Specialists
Church and Vesey is one of the most crowded and busy intersections in the city. With about 15,000 people walking across Church during peak weekday hours, the foot traffic is heavier there than anywhere in Times Square. A recent decision by the Port Authority could jeopardize those pedestrians starting this Friday.
"With traffic down there only slated to increase with more intense construction, pedestrians will be put at unacceptable risk without certified ped managers there to stop traffic and shepherd folks," said Transportation Alternatives director Paul Steely White.
Currently, pedestrian managers with Sam Schwartz Engineering handle the intersection, using yellow chains to stop people from crossing against the light. While this isn't the type of traffic control that we tend to get excited about here at Streetsblog, the fact is that the pedestrian managers have a proven safety record. Since they started in 2008, 60 million people have crossed without incident, according to Schwartz.
Certified pedestrian managers receive training in how to handle different signal phases, coordinate movements of traffic and pedestrians, and deal with pedestrian behavior, Schwartz said. When the Battery Park City Authority was looking to staff intersections with crossing guards earlier this year, Schwartz said, they chose his firm because it offered the lowest qualified bid, with crossing guards all professionally certified. The Port Authority simply went with the lowest bidder, Allied Barton.
The Port Authority has not returned requests for comment on this story.