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Residents Demand Changes to the Bowtie of Death


Residents of Manhattan's upper West Side want the Department of Transportation to make a high traffic intersection safer

Residents of the Upper West Side have demanded change to an intersection they have dubbed the Bowtie of Death.

The Bowtie which lies on 71st street between Broadway and Amsterdam, earned its name by how the three streets seem to kiss each other. It earned it’s infamy by way of being the site of 34 pedestrian collisions since 2010. The awkward spacing of the area and its high volume of traffic on both foot and car create a perfect storm for collisions to occur. “There are taxi cabs that have careened into one of the most heavily used subway systems in the city,” says Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, “We’ve had accident after accident here. This is a very dangerous intersection.”

Residents look to the New York City Department of Transportation to implement the change, but little has been done since they agreed to renovate the intersection last year. Some of the changes that are being asked for are creating left turn arrows and a reworking of the traffic flow so that it would be safer for pedestrians to cross. The only change to the Bowtie of Death since August 2010 when Stringer fist had this press conference was the addition of countdown timers for pedestrian walkways. Some residents are quick to point out that in many cases the timers run too short for the average person to reasonably make it across in time, while others avoid them altogether and just cut diagonally through the intersection.

The Bowtie of Death’s high collision rates among pedestrians are of great interest to the large senior citizen population and parents of young children. The concern is that they won’t have the ability to avoid being struck by a vehicle if conditions in the intersections remain the way they are. Local resident Katina Ellison is worried about her 13 year old daughter getting to that age where she can walk around town by herself. “My number one fear, way more than something like abduction,” Ellison said, “is definitely an accident as a result of her being a pedestrian in this kind of traffic.”