Areas of Assessment
The Upper West side may seem like a pleasant place to live. However, due to it being a densely populated area it has many disadvantages. Some of the community needs are as follows: The new construction in the area (which eliminates small retailers) may cause a decrease in diversity, which can change the economic health and character of the community. The youth and education are affected due to the overcrowded schools and lack of summer programs offered. This lack in opportunity for job training, employment and internships causes more free time that may lead to illegal activity (more crimes). The streets are in terrible shape; many of the blocks are riddled with ruts, potholes, fading striping, and poor curbs. These conditions present unsafe conditions for vehicles and pedestrians. The issues presented above are just a few problems that surround this neighborhood and if left unaddressed may cause it to be less appealing.
This area is ranked as one of the most densely populated, with over 214,000 people living in this area. This includes 13 percent of people ages 1 to 17, 9 percent of people ages 18 to 24, 40 percent of people ages 25 to 44, 25 percent of people ages 45 to 64, and 13 percent of people over the age 65. There is 66 percent of whites, compared to 16 percent Hispanics, 9 percent blacks, 6 percent Asians and 3 percent other. People in this area age 25 and older have completed more years of education compared to Manhattan and New York City overall. Based on statistics, its been noted that 5 percent of the population has 8th grade education level, 5 percent have some high school but no diploma, 9 percent have a high school diploma, 13 percent has some college but no degree and the rest, which is 68 percent are college graduates.
The people on the Upper West side are well educated and they are very good at rating their own health. Generally, they classify themselves as being in good health. The overall death rate has decreased by 15% in the past decade, however, this area ranks 12th among other neighborhoods for premature death (people who die before age 75). The primary cause of premature death is cancer 28%, heart disease 17%, other 35%, etc. Access to medical care helps to prevent illness, detect health conditions early, and treat health problems. Unfortunately, 22% of residents do not have a regular doctor; therefore they have to rely on ED services, which may exacerbate the problem. There are several local hospital in the area such as St Luke Roosevelt on 555 W 57st, Riverside Health Center on 160 W 100th street to name a few. Each facility is easily accessible via public transportation. There are two major subway lines with several different routes: Along Broadway, the #1 serves local and express station and the #2, 3 serves the express stations. Along central park west B/C trains serve local and express and A/D serve express station. Unlike the subways, the bus services have much room for improvement, especially after the 2010 service cuts. This area has 2 major parks and this includes central park and a substantial portion of Riverside Park. Also, there are 6 small parks and 11 playgrounds within this area, where people can go and remain active.
The Upper West Side is a very congested area with many high rise/ new construction replacing existing building (such as small retail units) with this elimination of the smaller units this will change the economic health of the neighborhood and growth which can eventually decrease the character of the area. Not only is congestion the problem but this area has a high concentration of buildings that were built before World War 2 and they still use oil burning boilers, which can threaten ones health. Traffic congestion is another issue in terms of the amount of vehicles and the emission that are given off by the vehicles. This area has a desire to reduce traffic and create a more green friendly energy conserving place. To do this they want to limit parking slots, add bike lanes and make the environment more appealing for people to walk.
The Upper West Side is very fortunate to have the honorable Council Woman Helen Rosenthal’s office within walking distance. The council woman is only available on Fridays, however, her colleagues are there daily to hear the concerns of the public and meet every need as best as they can. The office is open from 10am-6pm on Monday through Fridays. There are designated representatives in the office, which addresses specific issues in regards to housing, public transportation, or other basic concerns such as decrease potholes, scaffolds, etc. The representatives are very friendly, knowledgeable, and attentive to each individual’s plea, their goal is to guide and inform the people of what they can do to solve their issues. However, they may not be able to eradicate the problem.
The standing committees are resource allocations utilized to make decisions for the district on the Upper West Side. The committee members are individuals who are dedicated to addressing every dilemma that arises in the community, such as; business and consumer issues, health and human services, housing, land use, parks and environment, preservation, transportation, and youth/education/ libraries committee. Each committee meets on designated days to discuss the specific issues of concern. The business and consumer committee meets on the second Wednesday of the month at 7pm, health and human service committee meets on the second Monday at 6:30pm, land use committee meets on the third Wednesday at 7pm, park and environment committee meets on the third Monday at 7pm, preservation committee meets on the second Thursday at 6:30pm, transportation committee meets on the second Tuesday at 7pm and the youth/education committee meets on Thursday at 6:30pm.