7th Ave., the new boulevard of death
CYRIL JOSH BARKER Amsterdam News Staff | 6/27/2012, 3:50 p.m.
Community residents and leaders say that Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard, also known as Seventh Avenue, is a death trap in Harlem and have plans to make the major thoroughfare safer for pedestrians. According to numbers from the Department of Transportation (DOT), Seventh Avenue between 125th and 145th streets is a prime area for speeding, causing nearly 12 accidents a year.
Community Board 10, along with City Councilwoman Inez Dickens, is looking to ways to make the street safer for seniors and children who live along the street. Several schools, senior centers and NYCHA housing sit along the dangerous spot.
"They are looking at several ways to slow down traffic," said Lamont Mays, a spokesman for Dickens. "The DOT said the main cause of accidents is speeding."
The DOT has looked a several things to try and slow down speeding drivers, including installing a bike lane that might urge drivers to watch out for cyclists and changing patterns on traffic lights. However, Mays said that extending the median is what would work best.
"That idea is going over very well," Mays said. "Quite a few seniors who live in the area use the crosswalk to get across the street. If the median was extended, seniors could get to the island in the middle of the street and wait for the next light to cross."
Mays added that the Community Board is expected to vote in favor of the proposal. Several other elected officials are also expected to support the proposal as well as look for other solutions. Some 25 institutions along Seventh Avenue have sent in letters and made phone calls asking for safer conditions.
If the Community Board votes in favor of the proposal, the DOT would need to agree on the proposal as well. The entire process would take up to six months to implement. However, it could take longer because of current unfinished construction on Malcolm X Boulevard.
Accident rates have been compared to those on Queens Boulevard, which has earned the nickname "The Boulevard of Death." From 1993 to 2000, Queens Boulevard had an average of 10 people killed per year. Road rule enforcement cameras were installed on Queens Boulevard as a result, along with extra signs warning drivers about areas that have high risks for pedestrian deaths. As a result, fatalities have been reduced significantly.