DOT Adds Welcome Chunk of Pedestrian Space to Bronx Broadway Hellscape

New sidewalk space at Broadway and W. 231st Street, to the right of the subway steps. Photos: Brad Aaron

New sidewalk space at Broadway and W. 231st Street, to the right of the 1 train steps. Photos: Brad Aaron

DOT reclaimed a nice chunk of space for pedestrians on a corner of Broadway in the Bronx, bringing some relief to an area that’s otherwise deplorable for New Yorkers who walk and bike.

The curb on the northwest corner of Broadway at W. 231st Street in Kingsbridge, beneath the elevated 1 train, was once lined with parked cars. Years ago the city added a pedestrian island a few feet off the curb, shortening the crossing distance and giving people waiting for the Bx9 a place to stand other than in the street.

Last fall DOT filled in the gap between the curb and the pedestrian island. Now the sidewalk is contiguous, extending from the old curb line to the 1 train stanchion. In total, the new space is roughly two car widths wide and four car lengths long.

Waiting for the Bx9 is not as dehumanizing as it once was.

Waiting for the Bx9 is not as dehumanizing as it once was.

Yesterday DOT tweeted that the project is complete, with accessibility improvements and new LED lighting under the train tracks.

I walked from Inwood across the Broadway Bridge this morning to check it out. The best way I can think to describe it is that, with a little concrete and a couple of new light posts, this corner is now an oasis of relative sanity. A vendor whose name I neglected to get (yay journalism) said he’s been setting up shop on the corner for years and was enjoying the added space. “It’s great,” he said.

The same corner in 2013. Image: Google Maps

The same corner in 2013. Image: Google Maps

Now about that walk. From northern Inwood, across the toll-free Broadway Bridge, and into Marble Hill and Kingsbridge, Broadway basically functions as a highway. It’s a no man’s land with multiple lanes of fast, loud motor vehicle traffic in both directions, long crosswalks, and zero bike infrastructure. In some spots the city has installed median fences to prevent people from crossing mid-block. Though the street is designed to maximize auto throughput, it’s lined with 1 train stations and bus stops that serve people of all ages and physical abilities.

There is no bike infrastructure on Broadway, but there are pedestrian fences. Broadway Bridge in the background.

There is no bike infrastructure on Broadway, but there are pedestrian fences. Broadway Bridge in the background.

Crashes on Broadway between the Broadway Bridge and Van Cortlandt Park injured 46 people in 2015, according to DOT data. One year ago a hit-and-run driver killed Daniel Cabrera as he tried to cross just north of the Broadway Bridge.

In 2013 DOT said it would someday look into adding bike infrastructure to Broadway between W. 168th Street and W. 218th Street, and the Broadway Bridge. Broadway north of the bridge needs the city’s attention as well.