Pedestrian Refuges Provide Simple Safety Fix for Roosevelt Island Bridge

A rendering of the foot of the Roosevelt Island Bridge with new pedestrian refuge islands added. Image: NYCDOT

At the foot of the Roosevelt Island Bridge, DOT is showing off how a few simple improvements can turn a dangerous intersection into a safer one. It’s not a flashy redesign — just a pair of pedestrian refuges and improved crosswalks — but it’s a good example of the street safety improvements that are becoming increasingly common.

Right now, pedestrians crossing 36th Avenue where it becomes the entrance to the bridge must walk 107 feet from sidewalk to sidewalk: six lanes of traffic with no safe place for pedestrians to pause. Satellite photos of the site show that if a crosswalk had ever been painted there, it’s long since worn away.

By building two new pedestrian refuges across 36th, DOT’s redesign makes it so that the longest distance a pedestrian would have to walk in one stretch is only 49 feet. It also allows for the crosswalk across Vernon, which already has a traffic calming bike lane, to shift from a more dangerous diagonal route to one that leads straight across the street. One of the refuges is long enough to include a new area for trees and plantings.

Queens Community Board 1 did not vote on the proposal after DOT presented it to them on March 29, according to the district manager.

For an overhead view of what the intersection looks like now and the plan for the future, head below the fold:

An overhead view of the current intersection layout, with long and dangerous crosswalks. Image: NYCDOT.

The redesigned intersection builds pedestrian refuges to shorten crossing distances. Image: NYCDOT.