At Community Board 8′s Transportation Committee meeting on Wednesday, presenter Barak Friedman addressed the issues of narrow, crowded and unpleasant sidewalks along Third Avenue — which he argues leave too much space (70 feet) for cars and too little space (15 feet) for pedestrians, tagging the avenue as “a loud, polluted, and dangerous highway through a residential neighborhood.”
Part of his group’s proposal would be to widen sidewalks, adding benches, trees, delivery zones and “cycle paths,” which he described as being “truly protected from car traffic, much safer and more inclusive.”
Friedman also noted that Third Avenue’s three public bus lines — the M101, M102 and M103 — average speeds of 5MPH or less, all slower than at least 85% of NYC bus routes. With this, he suggested copying Madison Avenue’s double-bus lane to improve mass transit.
“I want you to think about Third Avenue as an inherently dangerous place,” said Friedman, who noted that wider sidewalks would be safer for all pedestrians, citing accidents including the December 2021 incident on 61st and Third Avenue which led to the death of a cyclist and pedestrian.
He also argued that wider sidewalks would allow more New Yorkers to use them; “The more people that can walk, bike, and use mass transit, the less traffic for those who have to drive.” And, that “more foot-traffic is better for businesses.”
A PDF of the proposal can be viewed here, and a video of the presentation can be viewed here.
All well and good, but if the wider sidewalks invite riders of electric bikes and scooters to continue to endanger pedestrians, we won’t have solved the problem. I’d say back to the drawing board.
With only 2 lanes for cars, one of them will be used for double parking so we are basically down to one lane for cars which is ridiculous and will cause massive jams. Look at Lexington Avenue – it’s often down to one lane because of double parking and the bus lane.