Case Studies

New York: Pedestrian Managers

The streets leading up to the Holland Tunnel in Manhattan experience daily traffic congestion: Cars routinely block intersections and crosswalks, forcing pedestrians to weave in between trucks and vans to cross the road. These traffic problems are especially acute along the six lanes of Varick Street, where blocked intersections prevent cross-street traffic from getting through, leading to excessive horn honking.

The Hudson Square Connection, which is the affected neighborhood’s Business Improvement District (BID), hired Sam Schwartz Engineering (SSE) pedestrian-traffic managers (PTMs) at select locations along Varick Street to keep intersections and crosswalks clear to improve pedestrian safety and keep cross-street traffic moving. SSE then compared traffic and quality-of-life conditions with and without PTMs on Varick Street. Its study showed that PTMs helped reduce crosswalk blockages by up to 43%, intersections blockages by up to 61%, and horn honks by up to 53%. In addition to the measured benefits, field observations showed reduced jaywalking and generally safer pedestrian behavior at the locations with PTMs.

This material is the product of a partnership between America Walks and Sam Schwartz Engineering. Visit here for more information on the partnership.