The DOT's press releases explain the program.
Thru Streets Program A Success — Further Pedestrian Improvements On The Way
Monday, October 18, 2004
Release # 04-122
New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Iris Weinshall announced today that the successful THRU Streets initiative shall be a permanent part of Midtown traffic flow - with even more enhancements for pedestrians.
The Commissioner released a report which showed that travel time along the City's THRU Streets fell by 25 percent, while speeds went up by 33 percent. Commissioner Weinshall also said that utilization of "split signal" phasing at signalized intersections — which give pedestrians exclusive time to cross the street — are leading to less accidents.
"The introduction of split signal phasing at selected intersections has proven highly valuable," Commissioner Weinshall said, in a report issued to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. "An overwhelming number of pedestrians benefited from conflict free crossings. The effectiveness of the split phases is even more pronounced when compared to pedestrian behavior at Midtown's recessed crosswalk locations. On average, 52% fewer illegal pedestrian crossings were recorded at intersections with split phasing compared to those with recessed crosswalks."
Accordingly, Commissioner Weinshall announced that split phased intersections will be added at 12 intersections located between 35 th and 41 st Streets. These new intersections are:
Lexington Avenue at East 35th , East 38th , East 39th, East 40th and East 41st Streets;
Madison Avenue at East 35 th, East 38 th, East 39 th, East 40 th and East 41 st Streets and
Fifth Avenue — at East 38 th and East 39 th Streets.
Finally additional parking opportunities are being provided for commercial vehicles on 35 th, 39 th, 40 th and 41 st Streets.
The THRU Streets program, which began in the fall of 2002, designated nine cross town streets as "Thru Streets" generally between Third and Sixth Avenues, and between 34 th Street and 60 th Street . They are: 36th and 37 th Streets; 45 th and 46 th Streets; 49 th and 50 th Streets, 53 rd and 54 th Streets and 60 th Street . On weekdays between the hours of 10 am and 6 pm , regulations prohibit most turns off of THRU Streets.
In other findings, DOT released the following information:
In comparing the THRU Streets data from 2003 to pre-implementation conditions in 2002, the average travel speed for the THRU Streets increased by 33% (to 5.3 mph from 4.0 mph).
Using the same comparison, the time required to travel along the THRUStreets fell to 6 minutes, 31 seconds - from 8 minutes, 40 seconds (a 25% improvement).
The number of motorists benefiting from this improved travel time rose by 16%, to 4,854 from 4,187 vehicles per hour (vph), representing an average of 74 additional vehicles per hour being accommodated on each of the THRU Streets.
Accident data showed that the number of accidents on the THRU Streets decreased significantly by 31% (to 193 from 279), with pedestrian accidents decreasing nearly 10% (to 74 from 81).
Compliance with the posted turn restrictions was especially encouraging. During the initial three weeks of the program (when NYPD intersection presence was at its highest), compliance rates averaged 98%. During 2003, when the presence of intersection coverage declined, compliance remained high, averaging 93%, ranging from 91% to 95%.
Curb clear time (the amount of time the curb is completely free of illegally parked vehicles) improved slightly to 34% from 31%.
Nearly 150 additional parking opportunities were provided for commercial vehicles — as 27 new "muni meters" were installed throughout the THRUStreets area.
New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Iris Weinshall announced that the successful THRU Streets initiative shall be a permanent part of Midtown traffic flow - with even more enhancements for pedestrians. The Commissioner released a report (in pdf format) which showed that travel time along the City's THRU Streets fell by 25 percent, while speeds went up by 33 percent. Commissioner Weinshall also said that utilization of "split signal" phasing at signalized intersections — which give pedestrians exclusive time to cross the street — are leading to less accidents.
As shown on the above map, the plan designates nine streets between 34th Street and 60th Street as Thru Streets.
These streets are 36th Street and 37th Street, 45th Street and 46th Street, 49th Street and 50th Street, 53rd Street and 54th Street and 60th Street. Turns from 59th Street are permitted.
On weekdays between the hours of 10 am and 6 pm, regulations prohibit most turns off of Thru Streets between 3rd and 6th Avenues, with a few exceptions. Turns are permitted onto Park Avenue in both directions. This does not apply to 45th Street, which does not have access to Park Avenue. Motorists are still able to access Thru Streets at any time.
The no-turn regulations provide an incentive to drivers who seek a reliable route across town, so that overall Midtown traffic flows more consistently. In addition, DOT and NYPD are focusing their parking and construction enforcement efforts on these streets to ensure that lanes are available for crosstown traffic.
Throughout Midtown, distinct signs remind drivers that Thru Streets are the best ways to travel across town:
(See the web site for illustrations - ed.)
Regulations have also been changed on non-Thru Streets above 42nd Street.
"No Standing Except Trucks Loading and Unloading" regulations now govern both sides of almost every non-thru street in this area, creating up to 150 spaces for truck loading.
In addition, one side of each non-Thru street has been "daylighted" for 80 to 100 feet in advance of each intersection to provide space for turning vehicles.
Regulations prohibiting turns off of Thru Streets create protected intersections where pedestrians are able to cross the avenues without the risk posed by turning vehicles.
In addition, "split phasing" at over 30 other intersections between 42nd Street and 60th Street has been introduced .
Split phasing divides a traffic signal period into three distinct parts:
ii) advance for pedestrians and non-turning vehicles;
iii) and stop for pedestrians but advance for turning and non-turning vehicles.
Split phasing is a dramatic safety improvement because it provides pedestrians with a street crossing period exempt from vehicle turning.
The new phases exist on non-thru streets between Lexington and Fifth Avenues, though not on Park Avenue.
At all locations where split phasing is in place, the corners have been "daylighted."
Split phasing was originally introduced at over 30 other intersections between 42nd Street and 60th Street. In October 2004, the Department announced that split phased intersections will be added at 12 intersections located between 35th and 41st Streets.
The original split phased intersections were:
Third Avenue at East 37th, East 45th, East 46th, East 49th, East 50th, East 53rd, East 54th and East 60th Streets
Lexington Avenue at East 47th, East 48th, East 51st, East 52nd, East 55th, East 56th and East 58th Streets
Madison Avenue at East 47th, East 48th, East 51st, East 52nd, East 55th, East 56th and East 58th Streets
Fifth Avenue at East 47th, East 48th, East 51st, East 52nd, East 58th, East 59th and East 60th Streets
Sixth Avenue at West 36th, West 37th, West 45th, West 46th, West 53rd, and West 54th Streets
The additional intersections announced in October 2004 were:
Lexington Avenue at East 35th, East 38th, East 39th, East 40th and East 41st Streets
Madison Avenue at East 35th, East 38th, East 39th, East 40th and East 41st Streets
Fifth Avenue at East 38th and East 39th Streets
14 November 2002, New York Post, "Trump Asks U-Turn on Thru-Streets" by Frankie Edozien, pg. 17:
Donald Trump has joined the chorus of New Yorkers giving thumbs-down to the city's through-street experiment - and he recently fired off an angry letter to the city.
The 6-week-old Department of Transportation pilot program has designated five pairs of Manhattan streets between 34th Street and 60th Street as "thru-streets" where turns are prohibited from Second or Third avenues to Sixth Avenue from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
15 February 2003, New York Post, "Thru Streets a Fast-Crawl Success" by Stephanie Gaskell, pg. 7:
Controversial no-turn rules have now transformed some crosstown streets into speedways - at least by Midtown standards, transportation officials said yesterday.
The city Department of Transportation will release precise figures later this month, but a spokesman told The Post that driving time along 54th Street has dropped by nearly half.
It had taken 9 minutes and 20 seconds on average to traverse 54th Street during the day, said DOT spokesman Tom Cocola. Now it takes only 5 minutes and 36 seconds.
6 March 2003, New York Post, "Thru Streets Are Turn for the Better" by Stephanie Gaskell, pg. 20:
With Transportation Commissioner Iris Weinshall by his side, the mayor said the once-controversial program is a huge success.
"The bottom line is that Thru Streets are working," he said.
Traffic speeds have edged up to 6.1 mph from a glacial 4.8 mph, and the average length of time to drive along one of the nine streets had dropped from eight minutes, 40 seconds to five minutes, 41 seconds.
25 October 2004, New York Daily News, "City's Not Thru With Crosstown Ban" by Pete Donohue, pg. 2:
The city has made permanent the traffic rules that bar turns from nine east- or west-bound Manhattan streets - dubbed Thru Streets - that were put into place in 2002.
The no-turn regulations in midtown have cut how long it takes to drive across town on those roads while an accompanying initiative - giving pedestrians time to walk across streets without having to worry about cars coming from any direction - has resulted in fewer pedestrian injuries, officials said.
Because of that success, the city will tinker with the traffic lights at 12 more midtown intersections between 35th and 41st Sts. to give pedestrians exclusive crossing time, Weinshall said. Pedestrians get 21 seconds to walk while drivers on all corners are halted by red lights, officials said.
The Thru Street program bans turns from the following streets, generally between Third and Sixth Aves., from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays: 36th, 37th, 45th, 46th, 49th, 50th, 53rd, 54th and 60th.
A city Department of Transportation study found the average speed on the affected crosstown streets rose 33% - from 4 mph to 5.3 mph.