Traffic on Bowery about to improve
The Department of Transportation is bearing down on the stubborn traffic problems faced by motorists trying to negotiate their way through the famed bottleneck at Spring Street and the Bowery. Monday began the upgrade with the tearing up of the median there. Unfortunately, to the worry of residents, a fire hydrant was collateral damage on Thursday, leaking water all over the place. Although the damage has not been remedied yet, at least the water is being held in check.
Traffic improvements to the intersection will be dealt with in the following phased plan:
- The southbound on Bowery left turn lane will be moved over to make way for an additional through lane. Two dedicated receiving lanes will help reduce congestion.
- A new “signal phase” will introduce a light system which will have a flashing yellow arrow signaling to drivers to yield to pedestrians. This system is now undergoing testing around town.
- The island at Delancey will be reshaped for easier turning. The new median will include trees to help make the neighborhood lovelier.
Several other changes are in the plans, including giving northbound pedestrians an 11 second head start to cross Delancey. During those crucial 11 seconds cars turning left from Bowery will be halted, so pedestrians can cross without fear of being crushed by turning cars.
Two especially dangerous intersections along The Bowery are on the Department of Transportation’s to-do list to improve safety, visibility and congestion. At Delancey Street a seemingly eternal line of cars push into the lanes which lead to the Williamsburg and Manhattan bridges, but the few seconds needed to get to the other side of the intersection are often gobbled up when drivers refuse to yield, despite the law which says they must yield. Drivers turning right off of Delancey onto Bowery are also confronted with poor visibility.
At Spring Street pedestrians must curl in and out of cars which are illegally idling in the crosswalks.
In the five years from 2008 to 2012 27 people were hurt at the Spring Street intersection. The danger at Delancey is even worse, with 87 people injured; 14 pedestrians and 10 on bicycles. There was also one fatal accident at this intersection during that time period.
Delancey is well known as a thrilling street enjoyed only by those who partake in extreme sports and other risky behaviors. Since 2012, however, after the DOT made some improvements at some of the intersections along the street, the statistics have improved for pedestrians and drivers.
The plan the DOT proposes includes the installation of two full time receiving lanes and a bus/rush hour lane along the street. They also will be moving the turn lane at Bowery and Delancey.
Both intersections will get better islands for pedestrians, including some greenery. There will be an 11 second head start for crossers to get to the other side of Delancey and Bowery. Visibility for drivers at these two intersections will also be improved for drivers turning right onto Bowery.