W. 32nd Street Sidewalk Extension Mulled by City Amid Push By Advocates
February 14, 2017
by Maya Rajamani
A crowded sidewalk across from Penn Station could soon be getting some more leg room.
The city’s Department of Transportation is considering re-installing a painted sidewalk extension on West 32nd Street, between Sixth and Seventh avenues, amid a campaign by advocates to secure the additional walking space.
The extension would include planters preventing cars from eating up more of the thoroughfare.
The department installed an extension along the north side of the one-way, eastbound street as part of a pilot program in July 2015, but removed it in October of that year, a DOT spokeswoman said.
An M4 and Q32 bus terminal on the street would have to be moved to either East 30th Street or East 32nd Street, between Fifth and Madison avenues, for the reinstallation to move forward, a Community Board 5 resolution supporting the extension said.
“DOT is coordinating with MTA regarding whether bus layover would be relocated before re-installing the painted extension,” the DOT spokeswoman said.
CB 5 unanimously passed its resolution at a meeting last week, its community associate Greg Lewis said.
Chelsea Yamada, the Manhattan organizer for Transportation Alternatives — which has been advocating for the reinstallation — said she’s heard from a number of people who missed the temporary sidewalk extension after it was removed.
“The preliminary test of that seemed [to result in people thinking] it was great,” she said.
“People used it, people walked in it, but then it was taken away."
After the DOT removed the extension in 2015, pedestrians kept walking up and down the north side of 32nd Street, she said.
“We keep hearing the same thing — [that] sidewalks are too crowded,” she said.
“Instead of saying, ‘People are crazy and going into the street, why are they doing this?’ It’s better to design things that accommodate them, and this is one of those great examples.”