Some New York drivers pushing back against proposed Third Avenue lane redesign

Some New York drivers pushing back against proposed Third Avenue lane redesign

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NEW YORK — The city is planning to redesign a major part of Third Avenue. The idea is to make it safer.

But as CBS2’s Dick Brennan reported Friday, some drivers say it will only cause more congestion.

Tell some New Yorkers that the city is going to take away lanes from Third Avenue and you get instant reviews.

“I think this is insane. New York City has always been a driver’s town,” Kenneth Abbott said.

“This is disgraceful,” a woman named Maureen added. “It’s just awful. It’s awful owning a car.”

But the city says the streets need an overhaul, and Department of Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez a stretch of Third Avenue, between 59th and 96st streets, is downright deadly.

“A corridor where we have seen a high number of crashes and seven fatalities in the last couple of years,” Rodriguez said Friday.

The redesign will improve visibility and shorten the time it takes pedestrians to cross, and it will add a bus lane and a bike lane.

“The street belongs to everyone and that includes the bus riders and the cyclist community,” Rodriguez said.

If you want to know what this will look like, just go to Second Avenue. There’s a bus lane on one side of the street and also a bike lane in between, with three lanes of traffic. Sometimes, they get congested.

“We need to revitalize the city and how we are we going to do that when we dis-incentivizing everybody with regard to driving?” Laura Rutkin said.

Rutkin has lived on the Upper East Side for 34 years and says the plan means more traffic and less parking.

“We’re gonna lose more spots due to the new plan,” Rutkin said.

The DOT commissioner says New Yorkers have to face a new reality.

“Is the idea is to discourage drivers by making congestion worse?” Rodriguez said. “Our responsibility is to create a new culture in New York City. New Yorkers have to realize that they can go to places, get to a destination safer and faster, when they are riding a bike.”

You won’t convince Abbott.

“It’s gonna be a disaster. Stand by,” he said.

However, Community Board 8 has approved the plan, and says the city should do even more to curb traffic.

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