City Survey on West End Ave Ignores Congestion Issue

Survey On West End Avenue Traffic Produces Conflicted Results: Concerns About Traffic Congestion Ignored

Eight months after West End Avenue (WEA) changed from a two lane to a one lane road, a survey of the public on the results has gotten a mixed verdict. But for whatever reason, the survey does not address resident concerns about congestion caused by nearby Henry Hudson Parkway exits/on-ramps at 95-96th Streets and 79th Street.

Consulting firm Nelson/Nygaard produced the survey, which will be released soon by the City’s Department of Transportation (DOT).

The survey reports that:

• “More than 50% of respondents are moderately or extremely concerned with traffic congestion on this corridor

• Over 60% of respondents say their concern is about the same or less than it was before the changes were made.”

The survey concludes that, “Respondents are more satisfied than not with the changes made to West End Avenue last fall.”

While the survey found that people believe their “travel time on West End Ave is about the same as before these changes,” the exception is among, “Respondents who use private vehicles or taxis more than a few times a month.”

The survey also reports:

• “On average, concerns with traffic congestion have not increased after the changes on West End Avenue.

• Respondents typically feel safer walking across West End Avenue and think drivers are making safer turns than before the changes. Respondents are divided on whether the changes have made bicycling safer, reduced speeding, or increased drivers yielding to pedestrians.”

Other common issues identified by survey respondents include:

• “Traffic congestion and safety around West 96th Street and West 79th Street where drivers access the highway.

• Vehicle loading and unloading that obstructs traffic.

• Desire for more safe pedestrian crossings and bicycle facilities along the corridor.”

N90s Responds to WEA Survey Report

While the new WEA pattern is safer for pedestrians in many instances, the big question among our neighbors who saw the survey summary was why the results do not address peak hour congestion, while appearing to downplay the community’s concerns in this area.

Neighborhood In The Nineties asks that the City release all of the data that went into the survey analysis. Many of our neighbors participated in the survey, and we want to ensure that our concerns are addressed without being filtered by the consultants.

For example, the survey report claims that “people believe” their travel time is the same before and after the changes.  It then says that people “who use private vehicles or cabs more than a few times a month,” are the exception.  This is a significant neighborhood group whose concerns should not be dismissed.  The bottom line is, does it take longer for people to commute to work or travel to the doctor?

Also missing is a geographic breakout on survey respondents.  West End Avenue was redesigned along a nearly two-mile stretch, but residents who live closer to the streets that feed Henry Hudson Parkway exits at 79th Streets and 95-96th Streets may have a different experience than residents in other areas.  This is especially true during peak rush hours.

It is time that the community received clear and unbiased input on what respondents said in the survey.  That should be the first step in addressing the neighborhood’s need for a West End Avenue that is safer and more functional for all user groups – pedestrians, cars and bicycles.

‘Mayor de Blasio, are you listening?

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