Is 6½th Avenue Really Slowing Down Traffic?

stop it 300x300 Is 6½th Avenue Really Slowing Down Traffic?

Red overreactions? (NYPost.com)

That’s the conclusion the Post came to this morning, backed by anecdotal evidence from drivers.

  • Alex Kush, 61, from Brooklyn: It makes it slower! Extra stop signs are not a solution for this area. It is a lot worse with the signs. Every time people cross in the middle of the street, it slows traffic for sure.
  • Joe Esdar, 40: It sucks, bottom line. Pedestrians just go. They don’t care. They don’t use crosswalks anyway.
  • Frank Barakas, 47, a document clerk from Westchester: I’ll go by once or twice a day. It’s good for me when I go get lunch. But when I’m driving, it’s not.

Not a single pedestrian—of which the majority of New Yorkers are, in a city where few own cars—was interviewed. One local business owner did come to the conclusion that the new thoroughfare was benefiting the areas, despite some confusion.

“A lot of delivery people are upset because it took away a lot of parking spots,” said Kamila Myzel, owner of Myzel’s Chocolate on West 55th Street. “Some drivers don’t realize there is a stop sign and they drive through, but over time the cars will stop.”

“But I see that a lot of people are crossing over and they are not afraid to cross the street. They don’t have to go to the corner. It’s nice. I like 6 1/2 Avenue.”

During a recent tour of 6½th Avenue with Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, The Observer witnessed cars queuing up at the stop signs, but to our amazement, we did not hear a single honk during nearly two hours spent walking up and down the pedestrian passageway. People were remarkably respectful.

Furthermore, to the point that the stop signs slow down traffic, that does not appear to be true, either. Granted we are here offering up anecdotal evidence ourselves, but the civil engineers at DOT argued before putting in the new intersections and signs that people were stopping willy nilly for pedestrians anyway, and the given the flow of traffic on the avenues, the stop signs would simply mean two short stops, one for the sign, one for the upcoming red light, rather than one long stop at the light.

Even the Post‘s own picture depicting one of the cross streets shows car’s rear red lights on well past the stop sign to the end of the block. For whatever that is worth. (See above.)

The project has only been in for two months, so there is no data yet to determine the intersections impacts on traffic—that is expect in the fall, when the department is due back before the community board to discuss the impact of the lane on the neighborhood. More anecdotal evidence, but the board has heard few complaints, either, for whatever that is worth.