Press Releases

Press Release #16-014
February 3, 2016
Scott Gastel/Bonny Tsang (212) 839-4850

NYC DOT, DDC, and Senator Adriano Espaillat Celebrate the Completion of W. 215th Step Street Reconstruction

The New York City Department of Transportation (DOT), Department of Design and Construction (DDC), and State Senator Adriano Espaillat announced that the West 215th Step Street reconstruction in Inwood was complete. The W. 215th Step Street was first built in 1915 and serves as a vital pedestrian corridor between Park Terrace East and Broadway.  Reconstruction began in September 2013.

“This Step Street has connected Inwood residents to the subway and local businesses for a full century, and we are happy to continue that legacy with our partners at the DOT,” said Dr. Feniosky Peña-Mora, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Design and Construction. “In keeping with Mayor de Blasio’s vision for healthy living in the city, W. 215th Step Street serves as an option that expedites travel through the neighborhood and encourages pedestrians to exercise by walking up and down the stairs to reach their destinations.  With the addition of bike channels, we also hope to encourage cyclists to incorporate Inwood in their routes with the knowledge that they can easily access the neighborhood without having to fret about carrying their bikes.”

“Inwood is known for its steep hills, and the West 215th Step Street serves as a vital means of access,” said DOT Manhattan Borough Commissioner Margaret Forgione. “Thanks to funding from the Federal grants and State Senator Espaillat, I am pleased to see reconstruction completed so that the Inwood community can now enjoy a safer, greener, and a more welcoming stairwell to reach their destinations.”

State Senator Adriano Espaillat (D-Manhattan/Bronx) said, “It’s exciting to see a renovated 215th Step Street open to the pubic after years of working to restore this century old neighborhood connection. These steps, which tie Inwood together, are now safer, more convenient, and more aesthetically pleasing, thanks to the work of the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) and Department of Design and Construction (DDC).”

“For a long time, these steps were treacherous presented a challenge to the many residents who were forced to use them on a daily basis,” said City Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez. “But the DOT and DDC have done a great job in revitalizing this essential corridor and giving our community a path to be proud of. Safer and easier access from Broadway to Park Terrace will give our residents peace of mind when moving throughout the neighborhood.”

At 110 steps, 200 feet long, and 35 feet wide, the W. 215th Step Street connects a residential section of Inwood to Broadway, a more commercial street with subway access (1 subway line).  The W. 215th Step Street reconstruction and rehabilitation is part of a larger citywide effort to revitalize step streets, which serve as crucial community corridors.  At a cost of $2.49 million, the project was funded through a Federal grant, along with funding from State Senator Espaillat (then Assembly Member), and former Council Member Robert Jackson.

“The residents of Inwood are excited get the full use of these stairs again,” said Manhattan Community Board 12 Chair Shahabuddeen Ally.  We thank DDC and DOT for working with us to reconstruct West 215th Step Street consistently with our design wishes. The new steps function well and are beautiful–we are so pleased!”

The design of the new Step Street took into consideration community input and the City’s commitment to design quality:

  • Additional lampposts with LED lighting, including two restored landmarked “globe” lampposts
  • Improved drainage, with the addition of two drainage channels and more stormwater collection points. This includes permeable cobblestones surrounding the tree beds, that are designed after step streets in Paris
  • Added handrails, guardrails, and wider steps for improved safety
  • Installation of bicycle channels, which allow bikes to be walked along the steps without being carried
  • Linden trees (species: Tilia Americana McKSentry ) for added greenery
  • Motivational quotations related to steps and achievement by Martin Luther King, Jr. (“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”) and Lao Tzu (“A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.”)
  • Directional and step inscriptions, indicating the location and the number of steps and distance traveled up them

West 215th Step Street, before and after images