Last night, Community Board 8 on the Upper East Side stopped a proposal that recommended pedestrian-protecting barriers for the medians on Park Avenue. Residents opposed to the proposal were concerned about the "look of the neighborhood," according to the NY Sun. Streetsblog, though, digs up this old photograph of what Park Avenue used to look like and says, "the photo above illustrates the absurdity of pitting streetscape aesthetics against pedestrian safety. Clearly, Park Avenue was once a whole lot more beautiful and a whole lot more safe than it is today as a roaring six-lane parkway."
Upper Green Side's Glenn McAnanama was behind the proposal to put medians on Park Avenue. What sparked the median discussion? The desire for pedestrians to have a little bit more protection from the racing traffic. We're sure many people have been stuck at the median with the quick lights and long walk across Park. Two deaths have occurred on Park Avenue, and Streetsblog published what Rachael Myers, girlfriend of one of the victims, said at the CB5 meeting; here's an excerpt:
In an article published in the New York Times this past week on the issue of installing barriers at the Park Avenue medians, it was reported that some residents were surprised that this issue had emerged. After all, only one person was killed while crossing Park Avenue in 2003 and another in 2004.
As the girlfriend of the person killed in 2004 and a witness to the crash, I can tell you that one person is too many. What exactly are we willing to sacrifice for the "touch of Paris" look of the medians on Park Avenue? Are we willing to sacrifice two human beings?