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The Sidewalk Nibblers

A proposed plan by DOT for a subway station at 96th street will leave pedestrians with 18 ft. less sidewalk space!

Mark Gorton: [00:16] I’m here on Broadway between 95th and 96th, standing on a sidewalk that is slated for removal in a new plan that would put a very nice new subway station in the middle of Broadway, but would, as it’s currently planned, involve the removal of nine feet of sidewalk on each side of Broadway.

Speaker: [00:38] Just take, mark nine feet of sidewalk that they’re going to be taken away to make room for traffic.

Speaker: [00:45] No, I don’t like that. I like more space for people to walk, to talk to each other, to have more human contact. That’s the way it’s supposed to be.

Speaker: [00:53] No, I’m furious. This is ludicrous. This city, I’m going to go crazy.

Speaker: [00:57] All they do is build ugly buildings where people come and they just narrow our sidewalks. They’re out of their minds, and that’s all I have to say.

Speaker: [01:05] I can’t even believe that they’re doing it, especially taking down trees and narrowing the sidewalk. It’s kind of outrageous.

Speaker: [01:13] I think right here, yeah.

Mark Gorton: [01:16] Does the sidewalk get crowded?

Speaker: [01:17] Yes it does, very crowded, very crowded.

Speaker: [01:19] It will be even more crowded for that side and that side.

Ken Coughlin: [01:22] We’re here to save this part of the sidewalk. The Department of Transportation has decided that they’re going to give it to cars and take it away from pedestrians. It seems like every time there’s a conflict between cars and pedestrians, pedestrians lose.

Speaker: [01:38] It’s terrible. It’s lousy. This is a walking city, we love to walk. We always walk. We walk from here to the park. We walk to visit our friends. We walk all the time and we have to have broad sidewalks. There are a lot of babies, there are a lot of carriages around these days, so you need a broad sidewalk.

Speaker: [01:56] Nine feet, they’re going to do this? It’s going to squeeze the pedestrians so that they have less area to walk in. I mean New York City’s a pedestrian city and this is nuts.

Speaker: [02:08] I don’t think it’s good because it’s definitely going to be… it’s going to be congested.

Speaker: [02:10] Do you live around here?

Speaker: [02:11] I do and I love walking. And there’s a lot of strollers and a lot of double strollers.

Speaker: [02:17] It would mean more pollution with the cars, the cars would be faster, there would be more accidents. This is known as Murder Mile anyway because the traffic goes so fast and more people are killed, it’s horrible.

Speaker: [02:30] Look at this plan, they had all these plans…

Speaker: [02:32] This gentleman was at the meeting, at the Community Board Meeting.

Speaker: [02:34] Already drawn up and like they had no input into the neighbourhood. Now we get this subway thing, they’re… what their selling point is the park, that they’re going to make this big park with 167 trees. Listen, Central Park is there, no-one wants to inhale exhaust sitting in a park in the middle of the street. It’s the biggest waste of time I’ve ever heard of.

Speaker: [02:51] I think it’s a really bad idea that they’re doing this. I think they should really consider the opinions of the residents, especially those within the, you know, a good three or four block radius. (A) I think we have way too much traffic here already to begin with, and (B) I think we have a lot of sidewalk traffic also, and chopping off this much of the sidewalk would just make the pedestrian traffic just be really terrible.

Matthew Roth: [03:14] Something’s going on here that doesn’t jive right, and you can see there’s all this sidewalk space that the DOT is more willing to take than… than coming up with another solution like narrowing each of the driving lanes by a foot or two. So if it’s a compromise, we encourage a compromise that leaves a lot more space for pedestrians.

Mark Gorton: [03:33] The plans here were drawn up and practically finalised before people in the neighbourhood were informed about it. And there was no chance for people to have a say. We need to create a situation where the pedestrians have a say in the process.

Speaker: [03:45] I heard that they were planning on narrowing a sidewalk and I… and then I looked and saw it was 96th and Broadway and, and this is… this is just a wonderful area because of these nice broad sidewalks and they’ve been cut away for cars in so much of the city. And that’s one of the reasons why this area is calmer, on weekends even when there’s lots and lots of foot traffic, it’s because of the wide sidewalks. And you really feel like you’re, you’re sort of walking in a grand city when you walk on a broad sidewalk. And to continually chip away at the sidewalks, I think it just chips away at the small amount of public space that we have left in this city.

Speaker: [04:24] People are crazy about cars. They just want cars. When people are inside their car they don’t talk to each other, there is no communication between them. I go to Florida very often and it’s always like that. You don’t see anybody walking down the street, you don’t see a single soul, it’s just highways and cars. It’s like a dead city. That’s why I like New York. So they going to… oh my god, they’re going to make it like that? I hate it.

Speaker: [04:48] It’s always crowded around here. It’s like a tourist area. It’s a big sidewalk and people still run into each other.

Speaker: [04:53] This is a hub. 96th Street is a hub, and there’s a lot of coming and going. People are coming off the subway and going for the buses, and we really need as much sidewalk as we can get. We need more not less.

Speaker: [05:05] The sidewalks need to be big otherwise you’re going to have a lot of violence, people bumping into each other and getting angry. Don’t do it New York, don’t do it.

Speaker: [05:12] No walking in chalk mark.

Speaker: [05:13] Don’t [unintelligible 05:13].

Speaker: [05:13] No, no, no, walk in the chalk mark.

Speaker: [05:15] Don’t [unintelligible 05:15], okay? Don’t [unintelligible 05:17], okay? This a sidewalk


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Clarence Eckerson Jr. has been making fantastical transportation media in NYC since the late 1990s. He's never had a driver's license and never will.

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