City Council transportation chair Ydanis Rodriguez wants DOT to address overcrowding on some of the city’s most cramped sidewalks. A bill introduced this week would require DOT to identify 10 locations with the heaviest pedestrian traffic volumes and “develop strategies for improving safety and traffic flow at such locations.”
“In this city, most New Yorkers rely on public transportation — and we also walk,” Rodriguez told AMNY. “It’s important that this is a starting point to look for opportunities to make sidewalks more walkable and safer and make sure the DOT has the data to make that possible.”
Speaking with Gothamist, Rodriguez spokesperson Russell Murphy identified Seventh and Eighth avenues in the vicinity of Penn Station and Times Square as areas in need of upgrades.
A temporary sidewalk extension on 32nd Street near Penn Station, installed by Vornado Realty Trust in 2015, was popular with the public, but plans to make it permanent were shelved after businesses complained about the lack of loading zones. Vornado’s Plaza 33, on 33rd Street at Seventh Avenue, returned this year after a successful 2015, but Vornado and DOT have not committed to making it permanent.
And while those projects can help alleviate crowding on cross streets, no plans are on the table to widen sidewalks on Midtown avenues, where there are so many people on foot that during peak hours they can’t fit on the sidewalk and walk in traffic lanes.