The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver announced today that the LMDC’s Board of Directors has approved $1.2 million in funding for pedestrian managers to help coordinate traffic at various intersections along West Street.
The Board’s action came in response to growing community concerns about pedestrian safety along the busy thoroughfare. Portions of West Street are difficult to navigate because of vehicle speed and construction activity at some Lower Manhattan intersections in Lower Manhattan.
Earlier this year, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver convened a taskforce that evaluated ways to address the situation. The group – made up of community leaders, elected officials, and representatives from schools and various government agencies – recommended a pedestrian management system to mitigate this problem.
"The placement of pedestrian managers along West Street was one of the key recommendations that I made several months ago to improve pedestrian safety in consultation with my West Street Task Force and Community Board One," said Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. "I am very gratified by today’s decision by the LMDC to provide funding for this important safety initiative. West Street has long been a challenge to cross for pedestrians due to the width of the street, high traffic volumes, many turning lanes, construction activity, and speeding vehicles. Pedestrian managers, who are charged with getting pedestrians safely across busy streets rather than moving traffic have worked well on Church Street and will surely assist our local residents, students and workers cross West Street safely and securely."
"As Lower Manhattan continues its positive transformation into a community that is drawing increasing numbers of residents, workers and visitors, traffic management has emerged as an issue that needs serious attention" said LMDC Chairman Avi Schick. "I’d like to thank Speaker Silver for bringing together various stakeholders to address this issue."
State Senator Daniel Squadron said: "West Street's crossings are some of the most dangerous -- and busiest -- in the city, and to manage them we need cutting-edge pedestrian safety strategies. That is why I have advocated for the placement of red light cameras and worked with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and community members to make West Street safer to cross. The pedestrian managers program is a simple, common sense, and innovative way to make crossing West Street safer and easier for parents, students and residents. I commend LMDC for responding to the community’s concerns."
City Councilmember Margaret Chin said: "I am delighted to hear the news that the LMDC will be allocating funding for these two important initiatives. Pedestrian safety is a major concern across lower Manhattan and Council District 1, especially along West Street. With the ongoing construction there, as well as the high volume of traffic on what is really a major highway and now two schools, this is a hotspot for potential accidents. So I am really glad to see the LMDC funding important pedestrian managers at these sites."
Manhattan Community Board 1 Chair Julie Menin said: "By approving this grant today, the LMDC has protected the Lower Manhattan community from what has been a needlessly dangerous and unacceptable safety risk to the thousands of pedestrians who cross West Street."