City Bringing Sanity to Long, 'Weird' Crossings Below City Hall Park

The crosswalks at Broadway, Ann, Vesey and Park Row that the city proposes to shorten and make easier to navigate. Between 2010 and 2014, 36 people were injured at the intersections, two severely, according to the Department of Transportation. Photo: NYC DOT

Nov. 24, 2017

Rube Goldberg could have designed these intersections.

They are the overly long, confusingly configured and heavily trafficked crosswalks along Broadway at the southern end of City Hall Park. It is here that getting from one street to another at Park Row, Ann and Vesey can be a test of pedestrian smarts and, at times, courage.

Now the city is set to do something about it.

“We noticed there were these three weird crosswalks,” said Casey Gorrell, a Department of Transportation project manager who presented the proposal to a Community Board 1 committee last week. “They’re really long and we were looking at ways to solve that.

How long? The Ann Street crossing is 84 feet, across two lanes of Brooklyn Bridge-bound traffic turning sharply from Broadway to Park Row. The Broadway crossing at Vesey Street is 68 feet long, as is the Barclay Street crossing a little farther up north on Broadway.

The DOT is proposing measures intended to solve the problem of lengthy and indirect street crossings as well as to reduce the dangers of pedestrian-vehicle conflicts. Changes are expected to be made next year. The illustrations below, by the Department of Transportation, give a picture of those and other improvements. (They received the CB1 committee’s approval, but still need the consent of the Landmarks Preservation Commission because the affected streets are adjacent to landmarked City Hall Park.)


Today (left): There are five pedestrian crossings at the southern end of City Hall Park where Broadway, Vesey, Ann and Park Row converge, with one crosswalk 84 feet long, another 64 feet long. In addition, there is a 68-foot wide Broadway crossing at Barclay Street. These long crossings are especially difficult for people with limited mobility.

Proposed (right):  A concrete island would be created to shorten the crossings and better align the crosswalks to where people are going. In addition, a single left turn lane is created on Broadway, replacing two turn lanes, to better organize cars turning onto Park Row. And at the Barclay Street crossing, there would be a painted curb extension that shortens two crosswalks.


Today (left): At Broadway, there are two left turn lanes and two through lanes for west-bound drivers coming off the Brooklyn Bridge or from Centre Street. That creates what the DOT says are unclear lane designations, with two lanes merging into one on Barclay Street.  

Proposed (right): The DOT says there is not enough volume to warrant the two left turn lanes onto Broadway, so they would be reduced to one; the right-hand lane would be a through lane to Barclay. The new island at the south end of the park would allow a single lane (there are now two) for traffic turning from Broadway onto Park Row.