A new direction: DOT wants two avenues to be one-way

March 9, 2021 Jaime DeJesus
A new direction: DOT wants two avenues to be one-way
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The Dept. of Transportation’s latest traffic plan is all about changing course.

The plan, which was presented at a Zoom meeting March 4, would turn Seventh and Eighth avenues into one-way streets from 39th to 65th Street. Traffic would flow south on Seventh Avenue and north on Eighth Avenue.

Eighth Avenue is a Vision Zero priority corridor because of its high rate of pedestrian casualties, and DOT says Seventh Avenue has the same problem.

“When we look at mobility issues on Seventh and Eighth avenues, we see that it’s the commercial heart of Chinatown, particularly Eighth Avenue,” said Ben Schwed of DOT. ”So we see lots of double-parking, lots of loading, trucks blocking lanes – and that leads to congestion.”

DOT said narrow, crowded sidewalks force pedestrians to walk in the street and many injuries are caused by side-swipes and head-on collisions. Accidents also happen when buses and cars attempt to get around double-parked trucks.

“We eliminate two-way traffic, and by doing that we are improving vehicle predictability, reducing possible movements and reducing conflicts between vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians,” Schwed said. “In a one-way street, if there’s a double-parked truck, in order to get around it you don’t have to go into oncoming traffic.”

Eighth Avenue would also have a dedicated space for commercial loading zones, ensuring a place for trucks to park and make deliveries.

The most frequent complaints DOT has heard are about congestion, speeding, double-parking and vehicles that refuse to yield. The department wants to implement additional traffic-calming elements, curbside controls and mobility improvements, and also plans to expand the sidewalk on Eighth Avenue for easier navigation.

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