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Transportation & Environment

A Request for a Study of the Merits and Feasibility of Re-Designs of 5th and 6th Avenues

At the monthly meeting of Community Board Five on Thursday, December 12, 2013, the Board passed the following resolution with a vote of 34 in favor, 0 opposed, 1 abstaining:

WHEREAS, Community Board Five is both a residential and commercial as well as tourist-oriented community, it deserves a safe and welcoming streetscape for residents, workers and visitors;  and

WHEREAS, Community Board Five has previously requested that the NYC DOT comprehensively study street use in our community district in a letter dated from 2009, but has yet to receive such analysis;

WHEREAS, 5th and 6th Avenues are among the most used thoroughfares in Community Board Five and according to NYC DOT statistics for the most recent year available (2012); and

WHEREAS, Crashstat.org using public data shows that between 1995 and 2009, 5th Avenue saw 9 pedestrian fatalities and 1 bicyclist fatality while 6th Avenue saw 10 pedestrian fatalities and 2 bicyclist fatalities between 14th Street and 59th Street; and

WHEREAS, Street redesigns in other parts of the city (in Times Square and Herald Square and on Columbus, First, Second, Eighth and Ninth Avenues) have reduced injuries, with NYC DOT reporting in their "Measuring the Street" report that by 2012, there was a 35% decrease in injury to all street users on 8th Ave and 58% decrease to all street users on 9th Ave; and

WHEREAS, Street redesigns in other parts of the city have reduced travel times, lowered speeding, resulted in less double parking, increased foot traffic, improved retail sales and real estate values; and

WHEREAS, Community Board Five has received 10,093 petition signatures and 1,599 hand-written letters from street users asking for safer 5th and 6th avenues; and

WHEREAS, Any plan should be developed in close consultation with Community Board Five and other stakeholders including the residents, workers, property owners, BIDs, associations and non-profits and take into account the diverse needs throughout these major thoroughfares. CB5 does not yet have an opinion on the best approach for these important streets and it would not take a position without substantial input from the public and substantial outreach to all stakeholders; therefore, be it

RESOLVED, Community Board Five asks the Department of Transportation to study the feasibility of improvements to 5th and 6th avenues south of 59th street that will improve the safety, aesthetics, and efficiency of travel for all street users. We ask that any study consider a wide variety of options including dedicated bus lanes, pedestrian islands, improved cross walks, more effective restrictions on vending and newsstands, opportunities for de-cluttering sidewalks including relocating or eliminating food carts, food trucks and street fairs, widened sidewalks and public plazas, leading pedestrian signals, dedicated loading, drop off and pick up zones for cabs and other vehicles, turn lanes and physically separated bike lanes.    

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