First Phase of Manhattan Bridge Safety Plan Takes Effect Today

Posted on: August 3rd, 2015 at 5:10 am by

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Manhattan Bridge approach

Three weeks ago, an unlicensed dump truck driver coming off the Manhattan Bridge struck and killed 83-year-old Ka Chor Yau who was crossing Canal Street. Maykel Felix-Tejada was arrested and the vehicle impounded curbside (it’s still there).

The fatal collision underscored the necessity of redesigning the bridge approach, which is basically a dangerous archipelago of concrete medians without crosswalks. In fact, this area consistently ranks in the top 10% of locations in Manhattan with crashes resulting in fatalities or severe injuries. So the Department of Transportation is finally addressing the overall safety issues under its Rapid Response Toolkit program (i.e. quick fixes that require less red tape). As previously reported, there is a mixed bag of improvements including curb extensions, median tip extension, crossing signals, painted pedestrian space, and making the lower roadway inbound at all times.

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Phase one of the plan begins today with the alteration of traffic patterns along the span. That means the lower roadway – consisting of two lanes – will be Manhattan-bound only at all times (except emergency). Until now, it was Brooklyn-bound from 3pm-9pm daily.

Here are some of the other “enhancements”:

  • 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.

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