Harlem has strong internal transportation systems and some of the most
important regional links in New York City, it has many infrastructure
problems. Residential streets are in need of resurfacing, bridges must
be brought up to a "state of good repair" and sidewalk and fighting deficiencies
hamper pedestrian movement.
vast majority (78 percent) of East Harlem residents work within Manhattan.
The remaining (22 percent) are split between other parts of New York City
(17 percent) and outside of the city limits (5 percent). Journey-to-work
data reveal that in 1990, 71 percent of the workers use public transportation
to get to their place of employment The data also indicate that the, use
of bus, rail and livery service has risen while the use of the subway
fell. Table 5 shows the marked increase in all modes with the exception
of the subway.
Mode of Travel to Work Socioeconomic
Department of City Planning, Socioeconomic Profiles: A Portrait of New
York City's Districts From the 1980 & 1990 Censuses of Population
and Housing (New York: 1993).
The institution of the MTA's Metro Card with easy transfers and two hour
stopover privileges is affecting these figures radically.
In 1980, only 11.4 percent of East Harlem commuters used a car, truck
or van to travel to work, as compared to Manhattan's 10.9 percent. By
1990, 12.5 percent of all East Harlem commuters used a private vehicle.
Despite the small increase in vehicle usage, ownership rates remain low
in 1990, 15.9 percent of the households owned at least one vehicle, up
from 14.8 percent in 1980.
The community district offers outstanding regional connections to all
areas in the City of New York. On the eastern border of the district,
the Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) and the Harlem River Drives run the
length of the district, offering express motor vehicular access to midtown
and downtown Manhattan. The Harlem River Drive leads to the George Washington
Bridge providing rapid access to New Jersey, These highways also lead
to the Bronx and Queens via the Triborough Bridge.
The Triborough Bridge leads to the Bronx-bound Major Deegan and Bruckner
Expressways to the north and to the Queens-bound Grand Central Parkway
and Brooklyn-Queens Expressway to the south.
Three bridges cross the Harlem River and connect the area with the Bronx:
the Madison Avenue Bridge, Third Avenue Bridge and Willis Avenue Bridge.
The Willis and Third Avenue Bridges are important truck freight connections
to the Bronx as well as traffic moving north and south. The community
district is also connected
the Bronx by the New York City Railroad Bridge north of Park Avenue.
East Harlem is a short distance from La Guardia Airport, a terminal that
serves as a regional hub for travel and air freight. The M60 bus, which
starts in Morningside Heights, travels across 125th Street and terminates
at La Guardia Airport--for a token.
East Harlem is served by the New York City Transit
Authority's (NYCTA) 4, 5, and 6 subway fines that run along Lexington
Avenue. The 4 and 5 are express lines that have only one express stop
in the district -125th Street. The local number 6 line makes stops at
96th, 103rd, 110th, 116th and 125th streets. To the north, the 4, 5 and
6 fines connect to the D, C and number 2 lines, while to the south, the
4, 5 and 6 fines connect
the N, R, E, F, B, D, Q, J, M, A, C, Z lines and the number 7 line (see
Like others parts of the Fast Side of Manhattan, one subway line limits
accessibility to many residents in the community. The certain portions
of the eastern section of the East Harlem (Second, First, Pleasant Avenues)
tend to be isolated. The NYCTA is currently conducting a federally funded
study of Manhattan East Side Transit Alternatives. The Second Avenue subway
is one of the study's alternatives. The construction of the Second Avenue
subway fine or another type of new transit service serving the far East
Side would provide greater access to the subway system and aide the development
of the eastern parts of East Harlem, including the East River Plaza.
are sixteen NYCTA bus routes, both local and express, that take area residents
to the West
Central Harlem, Washington Heights, Inwood, the Bronx, Queens, Midtown
and Downtown Manhattan. Cross-town buses operate on 96th, 106th, 116th,
125th, and 135th Streets. Buses also run on all primary north-south avenues
except Park Avenue. While bus service is adequate, the number of bus shelters
A number of private bus fines run through the community district. Liberty
Lines offers express stop service to Midtown Manhattan with four stops
along Fifth Avenue in East Harlem. New York City Bus Service runs buses
through the community but does not serve the area residents. With destinations
Eke Co-op City and White Plains, these buses run along Madison Avenue
and generate noise and air pollution as they travel through the area.
The Metro North station, located at Park Avenue and 125th Street, serves
as the uptown stop for over 500 trains a day. These trains run from Grand
Central Terminal on the Harlem, Hudson and New Haven Lines. The station
presently serves over 4,000 commuters a day, many of whom are employed
at the district's regional institutions such as Mount Sinai and North
125th Street Metro North station and the Park Avenue viaduct began rehabilitation
in April 1994. Although the work is mostly structural, some work will
improve the visual quality of the station and since the station is a designated
landmark, all improvements have been approved by the New York City Landmarks
and Traffic Flow
major east-west arterials are 96th, 106th, 110th, 116th, 121st, 124th,
126th, and 127th Streets; major north-south arterials are First, Second,
Third and Park Avenues. North-south movement is adequate along all avenues.
East-west traffic tends to be congested due to the funneling of traffic
onto major arterials to avoid super blocks, the Park Avenue viaduct, the
large hospitals and Marcus Garvey Park. There are two streets there are
presently wide one way streets that could accommodate more through traffic
if they were converted into two way streets: 100th Street between the
FDR Drive and First Avenue and 99th Street between Madison and Park Avenues.
are many locations where traffic becomes extremely congested. These areas
include 97th Street (third to Fifth), 116th Street, 124th Street, and
132nd Street. Entrances to the Triborough Bridge from 124th and 125th
St.,, the Drive entrance at 132nd Street, and East 135th Street near the
Madison Avenue Bridge. In all cases, entrances to the drives are narrow
which makes merging into traffic is difficult.
Department of Transportation has rated all of the avenues in the community
district as "high" which means that their condition is as good or better
than many in the City, but many of the side streets are in need of patching
Safety is also big concern in the community, especially for school age
children. Emphasis should be placed on teaching the children the importance
of street safety. On the other hand, certain intersections
should be made safer to ensure safety for all pedestrians, particularly
Community Board has long advocated and endorsed the DOT's program that
takes photographs of vehicles running red fights as a technique to protect
sidewalks in disrepair impede pedestrian movement. The problems are most
severe in front of city-owned vacant buildings or land which has been
damaged by heavy equipment that is used to clear or fence these properties.
Some of East Harlem's intersections still do not have curb cuts to accommodate
the physically-challenged and baby strollers. Also, many sidewalks are
not adequately landscaped with trees.
vacant lots are used by pedestrians to bisect blocks or cut corners and
many of these lots are frequently filled with dangerous trash and debris
while others me fenced by city agencies. The City does not service these
large expanses of vacant land. They are a hazard especially during the
winter months when vast stretches of sidewalks become covered with dangerous
patches of ice and snow. Pedestrians, including young children and adults
with baby strollers are forced into the streets to avoid the slippery
only 15.9% of East Harlem residents own a vehicle, there is a sufficient
amount of legal on street parking in the East Harlem's residential neighborhoods.
The 63 parking lots in the community district occupy five percent (13
acres) of the total land area. Of these lots, 68 percent are city-owned.
illegal conversion of vacant lots into temporary parking lots has occurred
in many areas. In commercial clusters, Third Avenue and police and fire
stations, parking is inadequate. As a result,
double parking is prevalent at these sites. Other problematic parking
arms include Madison Avenue (near Riverton Houses) and streets surrounding
Metropolitan and Mt. Sinai Hospitals.
example, the bus stop at Second Avenue and 97th Street causes traffic
congestion and hinders the flow of emergency medical vehicles. In addition,
parking regulations along Second Avenue between 97th and 98 the Streets
and 98th Street between Fifth and Madison hinders the efficient movement
of emergency vehicles. Parking for Metropolitan Hospital staff and visitors
street lighting is very important to the East Harlem Community with its
large population using sidewalks day and night. The basic city "street
lamp" is simply that--it lights the street where the traffic is, but not
the sidewalk where people are. One area where lighting is extremely critical
is along the Metro North Viaduct and in the pedestrian tunnels underneath
the Metro North viaduct.
I. PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION
1 . The NYCTA should improve subway transportation to the east side of
the Community District.
2. The Second Avenue subway line should be constructed.
The City should increase and expand the bus shelter program.
4. Authorize ferry service from 125th Street to midtown and Wall Street.
5. All cross-town busses should be changed from diesel fuel to electric
II. STREETS AND TRAFFIC FLOW
1 . In the hope of eliminating bottle necks created by cars exiting and
entering the Harlem River, East River, and FDR Drives, work should be
done on design and improvement of certain street and an ramps.
2. The City should install vehicular traffic lights at intersections that
are in close Proximity to schools.
Certain one way streets should be considered for conversion to two way
streets, such as, East 100th Street, between FDR Drive and First Avenue
and East 99th Street, between Madison and Park Avenues.
4. The traffic photo system should be expanded to cover more dangerous
intersections in East Harlem, to apprehend unsafe drivers.
5. The City should conduct annual traffic studies in East Harlem.
1 . The City should expand the tree planting program along East Harlem's
2. The City should install curb cuts at intersections on East Harlem's
The City should remove snow from sidewalks in front of all city-owned
properties in East Harlem.
4. The City should enforce sidewalk quality requirements, and follow same
on the city's own sidewalks.
1. The City should
bus stop at the corner of Second Avenue and 97th Street to accommodate
Metropolitan Hospital emergency medical vehicles.
2. Vehicular parking should be made illegal by all of our medical centers
where it might
the access for emergency vehicles, and for the discharge of persons coming
3. Adequate parking for hospital, school, police and fire staffs
should be provided in a fair manner. No sidewalk or crosswalk should be
blocked by any car.
V. STREET LIGHTING
. Metro North Transit Authority must install vandal proof lighting in
all of its pedestrian underpasses located where no lighting exists or
creates dark and dangerous pedestrian passage ways.
2. The Department of Transportation must install pedestrian (sidewalk-side)
lights on the avenues.
Sections of the 197-A Plan
History of East Harlem
Demographic and Socio-Economic Profile
Land Use and Zoning
City-Owned Vacant Property
Housing and Urban Renewal
Tranportation and Infrastructure
Institutional and Historical Resources
Non-Profits At Work In East Harlem
For Profits At Work In East Harlem
Maps (all pertain
to Community Board # 11)
The maps are in Gif format. File sizes are big, but you can better see
the details in the maps.
Board District # 11 (162K)
Population of Race and Ethnicity by Census
Land Use (Color 579K)
Zoning Map (244K)
Major Housing Developments (329K)
Urban Renewal Areas (328K)
Empowerment Zone (630K)
Economic Developement (628K)
Public Transportation (672K)
Historic District and Landmarks