FDR Drive South and BPU – #FixNYC

Starting a new series today, called #FixNYC, in which I talk about ideas on how to fix New York City.

I am starting with a few simple DOT (Department of Transportation) issues that can help clear up multiple choke points in lower Manhattan.


ISSUE #1
On the FDR Drive South, just after Exit 3 (South Street/Manhattan Bridge) the highway leads to Exit 2 (Brooklyn Bridge/Manhattan Civic Center), in which the two right lanes are “Exit Only” and the left lane continues on through.
The problem is until the final sign for the exit, it is legal to switch between these three lanes, and even after the lane line solidifies, plenty of people still switch over, since why wouldn’t they. This causes the left through lane to clog up, and causes unnecessary traffic to the cars that want to continue on to Exit 1 and the end of the Drive.

What if 1-Mile earlier, at Exit 3, they added a median, separating the through lane from the exit lanes. This would cause people to make their decision earlier, but once they get past that decision, you now have 1-mile of the Drive to clear the traffic up, instead of an immediate turn onto an already busy bridge.
Bridge traffic and overflow would no longer affect the driving on the FDR drive.


ISSUE #2
Further down this same stretch, when you approach the Battery Park Underpass (BPU). Exit 1 takes you to Battery Park and the Staten Island Ferry, while two lanes finish off the FDR drive heading under the lower tip of Manhattan.

The lanes are clearly labeled, with one of them for “West St. Only” and the other going to West Street and the Hugh L Carey (HLC) Tunnel (formerly the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel). Once again their is no median or enforcement of this, except for a solid white line drawn on the ground. But the sign is definitely there.

BPU Sign

The problem is that when you come out the other end of the Underpass, cars cut over all the time from the left lane, to enter the tunnel (which is the subject of Issue #3 later on). This is another case where a simple median, in this case the rubber flippers that they already use in the HLC Tunnel, would let traffic flow on the other end proceed smoothly.


ISSUE #3
On the end of the BPU is a merge of 4 lanes in which the two right lanes generally want to go left, while the left lanes want to go right…normally that wouldn’t be an issue on a long stretch of road, but here you only have half a block to do it.

West Street NorthWest Street North Map

The two lanes coming out of the Battery Park Underpass try to cut across to the HLC Tunnel, while that side street is aiming for the West Side Highway.
NOTE: There is a traffic light on the Morris St. corner.

Most days an NYPD officer is standing on the corner, holding cars on the side street while the BPU unloads, and then he’ll let through traffic from the side street.

What if they just segregated those four Northbound lanes, and had two sets of lights. One for the BPU, and one for the Side Street, alternating greens, or rather giving a (BPU/Side Street) Green/Yield at times, and a Green/Red at other times.

This would free up an officer to do other things, and help keep the traffic flowing.


Yes, these are all just ideas, and I’m sure they’ll never be seen by anyone that really matters, but you gotta voice your opinions or else you’ll never be heard!

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