Eyes on the Street: “Bowtie of Death” Needs a New Nickname

Pedestrians at the complex intersection of 71st, Broadway and Amsterdam enjoy shorter crossing distances and more space at the northern end of the intersection, next to a subway entrance. Photos: Noah Kazis

DOT has largely completed an overhaul of the complicated intersection of Broadway, Amsterdam and 71st Street, a year after presenting the plan to Community Board 7 (hat tip to the West Side Rag, which noted the new infrastructure last Thursday).

Dubbed the “bowtie of death” by Borough President Scott Stringer and Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal, who pressed DOT to take action last August and again this July, the intersection has long been one of the most dangerous places in Manhattan for pedestrians. According to Stringer’s office, there have been 34 traffic crashes here in the last two years.

Installation of the safety improvements began this August. Now pedestrians should have a far easier time making it across the tangle of streets. Using planters, granite blocks, and new surfacing flush with the roadbed, DOT has expanded sidewalks and medians, cutting crossing distances significantly. Abundant new crosswalks allow people to walk safely and legally where they’d previously been taking shortcuts without walk signals or a designated right-of-way. Along two blocks of Broadway, one southbound travel lane was removed to help calm traffic.

More pictures of the new safety features below the fold:

A number of new crosswalks make it easy, safe, and legal to cross the complex intersection in any direction. Before, pedestrians frequently cut from island to island without any official routes or signals for walking.
Looking south from the former "bowtie of death," new pedestrian space juts into Broadway on both sides of the intersection. On the left side of Broadway, the traffic lane was removed along this block.