Pedestrian Safety Guide and Countermeasure Selection System


Case Study No. 72

Allen and Pike Streets Corridor Improvements

New York, New York

Prepared by Ann McGrane, University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center.


The Allen-Pike Streets corridor connects the Lower East Side with the new waterfront East River Greenway. It suffered from high-speed and weaving traffic in off-peak hours. The corridor had three travel lanes in each direction, a bicycle lane located between a parking lane and a travel lane, and a central 24 ft concrete median that had two rows of aged trees. Crossing the roadway as a pedestrian meant walking more than 110 ft. The median did not provide welcoming public space and there was no safe way to cross between the median malls because turning vehicles blocked access. Additionally, on-street bike lanes were often blocked by double-parked vehicles, which forced cyclists to move into traffic lanes.


High-visibility crosswalks show pedestrians the appropriate areas to cross the large roadway.

Allen and Pike Streets, located in the Lower East Side and Chinatown communities, had a wide concrete center mall that was a remnant of the 2nd Avenue elevated train line. As a result of many community-initiated workshops, members of the surrounding communities thought that Allen and Pike Streets presented an excellent opportunity to transform the streets into a pedestrian boulevard. In 2009, the New York City Department of Transportation responded to the requests and developed a plan that was well-received by the Manhattan Community Board 3 Transportation Committee and included the community's suggested modifications.


Street furniture encourages pedestrians to use the space.

The Allen-Pike Streets corridor was narrowed from three travel lanes to two travel lanes with left-turn bays and an occasional right-turn curbside bay in each direction. Left turns were banned from northbound and southbound movements for all vehicles except southbound buses. The bike lanes were moved to the inner curb next to the pedestrian mall. Flexible delineators were added to a striped buffer zone to further protect cyclists. Left-turn signal phases were added to the left-turn bays to provide a conflict-free crossing between the malls for both pedestrians and bicyclists. Four malls were connected and closed to cross-traffic with roadbed plazas defined by color-coating, planters and fixed seating. These were cross-streets with little utility to the traffic network, but their elimination improved the usefulness of the protected bike lanes and eliminated multiple conflicts from the crosswalks at each of the four intersections.

Bike lanes serve as a buffer between the pedestrians and the travel lanes.


By using relatively inexpensive pedestrian infrastructure improvements, eliminating conflicts and reconfiguring the street, this project achieved better pedestrian and bicycle connectivity, improved safety and enhanced the quality of life along the Allen-Pike Streets corridor in a short implementation period. The total number of crashes within the project area decreased by 9 percent since implementation, and there were 12 percent fewer injuries for all users.

The success of the project has led to a the permanent build out of the malls with lush buffering plantings and seating areas that place pedestrians farther from traffic. The project will have raised unidirectional bike lanes on each side of the malls that will themselves be buffered from traffic by a ribbon of landscaping on both sides. The path will dip down adjacent to each left-turn bay, bringing the cyclists back onto the road

More Information

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