Like many members of our community, the SoHo Broadway Initiative is concerned with the volume of vehicular traffic clogging the intersection of Broome Street and Broadway at peak times. Traffic congestion regularly results in gridlocked vehicles blocking crosswalks and creating dangerous conditions for crossing pedestrians. In addition, excessive horn honking negatively impacts the quality of life for residents, workers, businesses, and visitors.
In exploring ways to ameliorate these conditions, the Initiative collaborated with Sam Schwartz Pedestrian Traffic Management Services (SSPTMS) to implement a traffic management and pedestrian safety pilot program at the intersection of Broome and Broadway last year. In June 2021, the Sam Schwartz team gathered data and observed traffic conditions on Broome Street and Broadway over the span of a week. After this, SSPTMS launched the Pedestrian Safety Pilot Program, which involved three experienced Pedestrian Traffic Managers (PTMs), trained in-house by SSPTMS, monitoring and assisting pedestrians, cyclists, and vehicles to safely navigate the congested intersection on Thursdays to Saturdays 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. from August 12 to September 5, 2021.
The observed impacts of the pilot program were significant. After the pilot program began, an 87-96% decrease in block intersections were observed on Fridays and Saturdays. Moreover, an 84-95% decrease in blocked crosswalks was observed on Fridays and Saturdays when the pilot program was in operation.
Overall, the results of the pilot strongly suggested that the presence of the PTMs greatly reduced the negative impact of traffic congestion at Broome Street and Broadway. As the spring/summer travel season approaches and increased traffic volumes are once again anticipated, the Initiative calls upon City agencies and elected leaders to devote resources to fund a Pedestrian Traffic Manager program or to deploy Traffic Enforcement Agents during peak periods at Broadway & Broome as well as other key intersections as an immediate, impactul step toward creating a better quality of life for residents, visitors, and businesses, and a safer and more efficient environment for pedestrians as well for as motor vehicle operators.
Read the full report on the pilot program here.