This Stern Professor Wants to Make West Third Street Safer



Traffic along West Third Street raises concerns for the safety of passersby, prompting a petition to call for reform.

Miranda Levingston, Staff Writer

West Third Street between Laguardia Place and Mercer Street is a parking zone for trucks and dumpsters, but also serves as a regular pedestrian and residential street for NYU students, faculty and New Yorkers.

Professor of Data Science and Information Systems at Stern Panos Ipeirotis created a petition proposing to add raised midblock pedestrian crossing lanes on Bleecker and West Third, in the sections between LaGuardia Place and Mercer Street. The petition also proposes to narrow West Third Street to make it more pedestrian friendly by improving the ability of people to cross the streets and by making the road safer.

Ipeirotis is most concerned about the safety of children enrolled at the block’s five-day care centers, elderly residents who stroll the area and NYU employees who cross the signless street to reach their jobs and schools. He frequents West Third Street because he has two children who are both enrolled in a daycare located on Bleecker Street.  

“Due to the added width of West Third and the uninterrupted stretch between Mercer and Laguardia, the drivers speed and habitually ignore the existing crossing lanes,” Ipeirotis said. “We had many incidents with pedestrians crossing the street and being hit by cars.”

Since its creation two weeks ago, the petition has garnered almost 500 signatures, many of which are from NYU community members such as Murat Ibrahim, who often walks the area. He rents space at Bobst to study for his Certified Public Accountant exam, and he supports the petition.

Ibrahim said he signed the petition to make the road safer because there are people who have a hard time crossing the street — even with a crosswalk.

“The cars come so fast,” Ibrahim said. “When I was using Bobst library during the summer, I was actually scared at one point because they were coming so fast.”

Tisch senior Clara Dollar also frequents this area and said that fast drivers are the biggest problem for pedestrians due to the lack of signage.

“My best friend, Michela, lives on this block, so I cross this street probably every day,” Dollar said. “It’s a busy road, so I usually just go for it and usually cars stop.  But yeah, it is annoying. It can sometimes feel unsafe.”

Email Miranda Levingston at [email protected].