Community Board Asks DOT to Study Amsterdam Avenue

| 02 Mar 2015 | 05:05

Amsterdam may follow Columbus to be the next "Complete Street" on the Upper West Side

0It's not just about bike lanes anymore. Community Board 7, after several drafts of resolutions and amendments and a long debate, approved asking for a DOT survey that would take a look at every aspect of the four-lane Amsterdam Avenue street life, and would potentially make Amsterdam a "Complete Street" much like Columbus Avenue. The resolution left the option open for creating a protected bike lane on Amsterdam or a "better alternative northbound choice" where cars, pedestrians and bicyclists could more easily share the road. The potential changes would also change the timing of traffic lights, and create safer options for the mobility-challenged, as well as sufficient parking for businesses. Parking scarcity has been a problem that was addressed shortly after the Columbus Avenue redesign earlier this fall.

"This is broader than a bike lane issue, obviously," said community board member Jay Adolf, who drafted the proposed amendments. "There are people whose primary concern is implementing a bike lane, but the sentiment of the full board is to do a broad study to create safer streets."

According to DOT statistics found on, there have been twice as many pedestrian fatalities on Amsterdam Avenue from 1995-2009 than any other major avenue on the Upper West Side. This, according to the newly-amended resolution, would be cause for immediate actions like re-signaling the timing of traffic lights, and creating temporary bulb-outs-which would shorten the distance that pedestrians would have to cross Amsterdam.

"It shows that New Yorkers and Upper West Siders are prioritizing safer streets and I personally am thrilled," said Tom DeVitto, a representative from Transportation Alternatives. "I think it says a lot that this is happening in this neighborhood."

A representative from the 20th precinct community council at the meeting, however, said that this statistic is simply "not true" and that Amsterdam and Columbus are both relatively similar when it comes to safety. "Yeah, they're both really dangerous!" shouted out an agitated community member at the meeting.

""We cannot endure the uncertainty of waiting for a study," said Dan Zweig, the co-chair of the Transportation Committee on Community Board 7. "We cannot wait on pedestrian safety."