Thursday, January 29, 2009

Brian Lehrer WNYC - Chatham Square Reconstruction

For those of you who missed Brian Lehrer on WNYC radio CCRC has transcribed the interview for your review. Transportation Alternatives Wiley Norville and AAFE's Thomas Yu, Chair of the Chatham Square Task Force of CB3 speak about traffic in and through Chinatown.
Here is the link to hear the interview: Look Both Ways (The Brian Lehrer Show: Monday, 26 January 2009)


Brian Lehrer Show - A.M. 1/26/2009
BL: ... We also saw the tragic accident in Chinatown last week
where a delivery van ran into a group on a sidewalk in
Manhattan's Chinatown, killing 2 children and injuring several
others. The incident was deemed an "accident" but Chinatown
is still the most dangerous neighborhood in Manhattan for
pedestrians. So, we're going to look at pedestrian safety in
Chinatown to understand why it's particularly dangerous there,
and what to do about it, and we'll also look at pedestrian
safety in general as an issue across a heavily trafficked
metropolitan area. Joining me now are Wiley Norvell,
communications director of the group Transportation
Alternatives which advocates for pedestrians and bicyclists,
and, Thomas Yu, director of housing development at Asian
Americans for Equality. He is also the chair of the Chatham
Square Redesign Committee of Community Board 3. Welcome both
of you. Good morning.

WN and TY: Good morning.

BL: There were 25 fatalities and more than 1100 injuries in the
decade from 1995 to 2005 in Chinatown. More fatalities than
any other Manhattan zip code. Thomas Yu - What makes
Chinatown the most [dangerous] neighborhood in Manhattan for

TY: One, well you have.. it's both a residential and commercial
area, it is a tourist destination, and so you have a lot of
conversions of major arteries that you have - the Manhattan
Bridge and the Brooklyn Bridge feeding into it; people take
Canal Street and other nearby streets to get to the tunnels,
and also, it's just north of the Courts and City Hall, so you
have a convergence of a lot of traffic really overloading the
streets of some of the neighborhood.

BL: Wiley, that's just to say that there's a lot of cars and
trucks. Is it that simple, or is it a matter of how the
streets and the traffic patterns, and so forth, are designed
and managed by the City?

WN: Well, I think you could sum up the conditions in Chinatown
with the phrase "No margin for error" with the amount of
vehicular and truck traffic pouring across Canal Street and
all those neighborhood streets, all the businesses, and
probably the most pedestrian congestion outside of maybe Times
Square. There's really no margin for error in Chinatown.
It's what we saw with this last crash; you know, a double-
parked vehicle that was in reverse, presumably in reverse, not
going very fast, but because of the all the congestion, all
the pedestrians, even something like that is going to lead to
fatality and tragedy. That's really the plague of Chinatown,
that there's just so many demands put on those streets. These
are streets that probably have not changed design-wise since
the 19th Century.

BL: Sure enough. I mean, it's one of the oldest neighborhoods in
the City and it still has a lot of the 18th century or 19th
century pedestrian infrastructure. From a policy perspective,
Thomas Yu, what could improve the pedestrian infrastructure
while still maintaining the commercial use and the business
access that so many in Chinatown depend on?

TY: As you know, we are meeting as a task force regarding one
issue, the Chatham Square redesign. Some of the things that
we have asked the DOT for, we haven't gotten. Things as
simple as a Pedestrian-Vehicular Conflict Analysis, which is
typical for just finding out how these additional cars - when
there is construction work, if it is diverted - how it affects
pedestrians at intersections. We've been asking for that and
have not gotten it.

BL: Would you like this? Manhattan Borough President Scott
Stringer and City Councilman Daniel Squadron have called for
a comprehensive plan for pedestrian safety in Chinatown. It
includes banning commercial traffic on local residential
streets, even though commercial traffic has all been pushed to
the Manhattan Bridge from the Brooklyn Bridge which does not
take commercial traffic anymore. This comprehensive plan
includes banning commercial traffic on local residential
streets, re-opening Park Row - which was closed as a post-9/11
security measure for the NYPD, traffic calming measures - like
bollards and speed bumps, more commercial parking. Let me ask
you, Wiley, I know Transportation Alternatives never likes
more parking, but what do you think about that blueprint from
the Borough President and Councilman Squadron?

WN: There's a lot of good things there, especially on the traffic
calming front. This is a toolbox that's tried and tested.
These are things that worked on Queens Blvd ten years ago -
tamed the Blvd of Death to some extent. In a place like
Chinatown, we can't go without them. We can't go without
things like bollards to protect pedestrians on sidewalks,
better signal timing to give pedestrians added time to cross
these dangerous streets like Canal [Street]. We can't go
without them any longer, and we hope the City moves very
aggressively to roll them out in that neighborhood.

BL: Anyone else from Chinatown or anywhere else in the metro area?
Because we will expand this out from Chinatown in just a
minute. Traffic safety. You know, it's not drivers who get
killed on the streets of New York in driver-pedestrian
accidents, it is pedestrians. So, any suggestions to improve
pedestrian safety? Any place where you particularly unsafe
crossing the street? Call and shout out your intersection and
maybe it will put it on the City Transportation Dept's radar
screen. 212 433 WNYC, and of course anyone from Chinatown.
(repeats) or post to: and click on Brian Lehrer show
for Wiley Norvell from Trans Alt and Thomas Yu from AAFE and
CB3 in Chinatown.

Here's Mike in Manhattan.

MIKE: Yes, hello. I have a comment on the current conversation
and I think one of the people who needs to be thanked for
part of the congestion in Chinatown is former Congressman
Guy Molinari from Staten Island, who put a bill through
Congress that required the Port Authority to have one-way
tolls on the Verrazano Bridge, so what truckers now do in
order to avoid the toll on the Verrazano Bridge is - they
take Canal Street and the Holland Tunnel instead of going
through Staten Island over the Verrazano Bridge. That
causes a good part of the heavy truck congestion on
Staten Island.

BL: Thomas Yu - You think that's right?

TY: That's absolutely correct. A lot of wider regional
transportation decisions affect Chinatown because it is a
regional hub. For example, the tolls on the Verrazano Bridge
is one of them. Even development on the other side of the
bridges in Brooklyn are pouring traffic into Chinatown. These
are the things that the residents have brought up in the Task

BL: Wiley, if Chinatown is the most dangerous neighborhood for
pedestrians in Manhattan, do you happen to know what the 2nd
and 3rd and 4th most dangerous neighborhoods are, either in
Manhattan per se, or citywide?

WN: We'll they're really going to concentrate where you have the
same problems - intense vehicular traffic, especially truck
traffic converging with a lot of pedestrian density. Those
are going to be places like Washington Heights, places like
midtown, places like Harlem, where you have all those uses

BL: Here is somebody elsewhere in Manhattan who has a pedestrian
problem. Richard, you're on WNYC.

RICHARD: I wanted to speak about the approaches to crossings like
the Queensborough Bridge, where the crossings are -
everybody's sort of in highway mode, and there is this
terrible disregard for the pedestrian crosswalks and
people oftentimes on cell phones coming onto these
crossings, and the danger posed to pedestrians and
myself, especially when I'm wheeling my 20-month son
around, is really upsetting. It seems like some of the
traffic agents do their job, others do not, but I think
in these areas that are right near major crossings,
especially free ones where lots of times drivers are
trying to avoid the tunnels or the paid crossings, it's
a special problem.

BL: Wiley?

WN: This really hits the nail on the head. It's really negligent
and dangerous driving that are posing the hugest risks to New
Yorkers. All these pedestrian deaths that happen - the Number
1 cause isn't things like drunk driving or being on a cell
phone, that we think of in the headlines - it's things like
speeding, it's things like driver inattention, and there is so
little margin for error that it's inevitable that we have this
many crashes when people aren't paying attention. We really
need a new push to do what we did with drunk driving. You
know, 30 years ago drunk driving was not only permitted, it
was almost celebrated if you look at movies from the 70s. In
this day and age, we really need to bring the same aggressive
approach with respect to culture and laws to reckless driving.
There's so little margin for error in New York that we can't
afford to be inattentive, we can't afford not be bringing 100%
of our attention. If you drive 2 tons of steel on New York
City streets, you're responsible for the outcomes of what's
going to happen.

BL: Richard, thank you for your call. Now, Thomas Yu, you're the
chair of the Chatham Square Redesign Committee of CB3 and,
after 9/11 Park Row, as we mentioned earlier, was closed to
vehicle traffic which merchants and residents claim have
worsened gridlock and lowered property values. Now the City
has plans to redesign Chatham Square and transform Park Row
into a landscaped pedestrian and bicycle area. Do you like
that idea?

TY: If we were just to reflect the feelings of the community on
the Task Force, there are public members - they're absolutely
against the idea. But everything we've been told is that we
can't ask for it, that it [Park Row] will be closed. It's
compounding a lot of problems in the area where traffic has
trouble flowing, and with the upcoming Brooklyn Bridge repairs
- that will divert a lot of traffic into Chinatown.
Businesses are worried that the shut down of the streets,
especially on the weekends when Chinatown does most of its
business, will severely affect the economy of the

BL: And Wiley, you've been reading on Streetsblog, a liveable
streets advocate - side-aligned with Trans Alternatives, that
these more pedestrian-friendly measures are drawing opposition
from the business community which is reliant on auto traffic.
So, there's a conflict about whether the community even wants
more street space allocated to pedestrians?

WN: You know, it's hard to say. I think my colleague on the other
line could probably verify that, you now, over the years
Chinatown has really gotten the short end of the stick from
the City of New York, whether it's NYPD response to 9/11,
whether it's government workers parking with permits
illegally, whether it's all this traffic congestion... There's
so much bad faith on the part of the City over 20 years with
respect to Chinatown, that it's hard to recognize the good
when it's playing out. There is, I think, a lot of good to
this Chatham Square redesign, I think there's a lot in it for
a neighborhood with as many pedestrians and as low car
ownership as Chinatown, but certainly there's more room for
community input on this.

BL: BTW - When we finish this discussion, we're going to have a
happier conversation for Chinatown and other parts of the City
and the region and the world. We're going to celebrate the
Year of the Ox. The Lunar New Year is of course today and
we're collecting posts. Some good stuff is already coming in
on our webpage [with] answers to the question: How are you
celebrating the Year of the Ox?
[followed by discussion on Year of the Ox]

BL: To finish up on transportation - Wiley Norvell from Transp.
Alternatives, your group has been advocating for implementing
what they call "Leading Pedestrian Interval Systems" in our
intersections. What is that?

WN: Well, one of the major causes of crashes in NYC is failure to
yield - cars turning across pedestrians while they're in the
crosswalk with a walking signal. What LPI's do is give
pedestrians time to cross. It's also called "Exclusive
Crossing Time" where a pedestrian has 10 seconds to establish
themselves in the intersection before they have to contend
with traffic turning in front of them.

BL: Megan in Brooklyn has an issue that a few of our callers do
with respect to Chinatown street safety.

MEGAN: Hi, my question about Chinatown is that I know that the
stalls - the vendors have stalls extend[ing] so far onto
the sidewalk, it seems to leave very little space for,
particularly, large numbers of tourists to walk around
in. People tend to walk in the street. I'm wondering if
that is part of the problem of why it's so dangerous in

TY: You have some instances where the sidewalk has been taken over
by produce and things like that. These are things that we all
can work on, I'm sure, especially the response that small
businesses have in terms of closing the street completely to
traffic. I think maybe there can be some compromise worked
out where maybe certain hours they get their shipments, and
then they in turn police their area of the sidewalk.

BL: Megan, thank you very much. We'll leave it there. [followed
by discussion on Year of the Ox]

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

D.C. reigns in its Government drivers - but will Bloomberg follow suit?

CCRC has proposed a logical solution to the City's problem of parking placard abuse by its employees who often drive with impunity , park with impunity, and in some cases harass and intimidate with impunity. The NYPD and FEDS are offenders as well as a recent report revealed. D.C. and NYC are suffering the same revenue losses since FEDS in both cities routinely toss their tickets rather than pay them.
D.C. has taken a bold step in the right direction. Similar to the CCRC plan to use 21st century technology, in place of the current 19th century method of parking placard perks, they are using tracking technology similar to method used by ZIPCAR rentals. Although the details of the method are not revealed in the article, the very idea of monitoring the driver's whereabouts and time spent traveling in a government owned or sanctioned vehicle is a very good start in eliminating abuse.
Another great idea to come out of D.C. is having parking ticket fines automatically deducted from government worker's salaries.

Now if Mayor Bloomberg would only follow suit.

Here is the quote from the Oct 24 08 Washington Post Story:

"It's an unofficial policy," Howland said. "What I would try to do, and am doing, is make agencies pay their tickets."

In the past, he said, it was difficult to determine who was driving a D.C. government vehicle, but yesterday the city unveiled a new car-sharing strategy for its fleet that will use technology borrowed from Zipcar to monitor drivers. Also, Howland has developed a legislative proposal that would allow the city to take fines out of workers' wages. It would require council approval.

Washington Post Story on the FED's skipping out on parking tickets

Federal Parking Fines Go Unpaid
Military, FBI Top the List, Report Finds

By David Nakamura
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, October 24, 2008; B01

The FBI and U.S. Armed Forces are institutions in which following the rules is supposed to be a given.

Except when it comes to paying their parking tickets.

According to a congressional report scheduled to be released today, federal workers in the District and New York City failed to pay $176,000 in fines for 1,147 tickets issued last year to their U.S. government vehicles.

Leading the way in the District were the Army, Navy and Air Force, whose employees ignored 158 tickets for $28,000 in 2007. Most were racked up by recruiters working at the Armed Forces Recruiting Center near 13th and L streets NW.

In New York, FBI agents set the worst example, accumulating $35,000 in fines and comfortably besting the Department of State ($28,000) and the Marine Corps ($20,000) in unpaid violations.

Almost half of the citations were issued during morning and evening rushes, increasing congestion and creating safety hazards, the report concludes. Other violations included parking on sidewalks, in handicapped zones and in front of fire hydrants and bus stops. Only 6 percent were for expired meters.

The report was done by the majority staff of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure at the request of the panel's chairman, Rep. James L. Oberstar (D-Minn.) It faults "lax fleet management practices" that enable many workers to ignore fines.

In a statement, Oberstar said: "Without sufficient oversight by management, illegal parking by government employees will continue to compromise mobility, create unsafe conditions for pedestrians and other drivers, and obstruct emergency vehicles in urban centers across the nation."

At least one agency put the blame elsewhere.

"Parking in New York City is a huge problem," Monica McLean, spokeswoman for the FBI's New York field office, said yesterday. "Unfortunately, parking facilities do not exist for a majority of FBI vehicles assigned to our division."

Tell it to the judge.

That's what District residents were doing yesterday at the city's traffic adjudication services division at 301 C St. NW. Clutching parking tickets and citations for such other violations as speeding, some lined up to contest their fines while others were resigned to paying. Not surprisingly, they weren't happy to hear that not everyone is held accountable for parking fines.

"That's unfair," protested D.C. resident Alexander Williams, 42, a real estate salesman who was waiting to pay a $30 fine. "They should be liable for their tickets. We citizens have to pay our tickets, and government officials shouldn't be exempted."

The federal government's blatant disregard of city parking restrictions apparently is not drawing much ire from enforcement agents in the District and New York. And the report provides its take on the reason why: Municipal workers in agencies directly responsible for assessing fines failed to pay thousands of dollars in parking fines of their own.

In the District, city workers ignored $33,000 in penalties assessed to their government vehicles, including $10,000 racked up by the Department of Public Works, which is responsible for assessing the majority of tickets.

And in the Big Apple, where city employees had not paid $491,000 on 2,562 tickets, the New York Police Department had a delinquent balance of $192,000.

"This is troubling, because we need DPW to set an example," said D.C. Council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1), chairman of the Committee on Public Works and the Environment. "To my knowledge, we've never focused on this issue, and we need to focus on it. I'll make sure we do."

The report says the D.C. government abides by a "double standard." The Department of Motor Vehicle's policy is to "boot or tow vehicles . . . that have two or more 30-day-old, unpaid parking tickets," the report points out.

But D.C. parking enforcement officers give a pass to government-tagged vehicles "as a matter of long-standing policy," the report states. And, although federal law requires employees to pay their tickets, "there are no consequences for ignoring parking tickets [so] federal employees have no incentives to pay up or comply with local parking laws," the report found.

The report quotes the D.C. DMV director as saying that if the city were to change its towing policy for federal vehicles, it would be forced to do the same for District vehicles, and "politically, that's not a feasible thing to do." Lucinda M. Babers is the director, although the report does not name her.

But Public Works Director William O. Howland Jr., who was not interviewed for the report, said his office handles parking enforcement. The agency issued 1.4 million tickets in 2007. There is no policy prohibiting booting or towing federal vehicles, and some have been booted, Howland said.

He acknowledged, however, that he would never boot or tow a D.C. government vehicle.

"It's an unofficial policy," Howland said. "What I would try to do, and am doing, is make agencies pay their tickets."

In the past, he said, it was difficult to determine who was driving a D.C. government vehicle, but yesterday the city unveiled a new car-sharing strategy for its fleet that will use technology borrowed from Zipcar to monitor drivers. Also, Howland has developed a legislative proposal that would allow the city to take fines out of workers' wages. It would require council approval.

Howland said his records show that only 63 unpaid tickets remain from 2007 and 30 this year. Asked how he could beef up enforcement of federal violators, Howland said: "We could start targeting people down in the federal areas, but I don't target any area."

If he did, he would be wise to start near 13th and L streets at the Armed Forces Recruiting Center, where the Army, Navy and Air Force share a building.

In Oberstar's report, military recruiters who were interviewed said they do not remember receiving tickets or believed they were ticketed unfairly because they "had government plates." One Navy official said the Armed Forces had an agreement with the District that government cars outside the office would not receive tickets.

Yesterday, Maj. Terence Stephens, who oversees the Army's portion of the office, said the command was made aware of the problem by Oberstar's committee staff in February and told the recruiters to park legally and pay up.

"We're retraining the recruiters," Stephens said

Monday, January 26, 2009

Gotham Gazette - EXCELLENT article on Placard parking abuse - CCRC highlighted

Scaling Back Free Parking Privileges

by Graham T. Beck
January 26, 2009

In early January 2008, little more than one year ago, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan announced a plan to scale back a program that is a cherished perk for city employees and an infuriating irritant to the rest of us. The three officials said they would "reduce the number and misuse of government parking placards" -- the often misused permits that allow city employees to park their vehicles in designated areas and at metered spaces free of charge for an indefinite period of time.

Citing efforts to "reduce traffic congestion, decrease the city's carbon footprint, encourage the use of public transportation and reduce the demand for curbside parking in connection with city business," the trio held a press conference and pledged to reduce the number of city-issued placards by 20 percent, prosecute individuals using counterfeit placards or misusing valid ones, and conduct a thorough review of citywide parking allocations and regulations.

A year later, city officials point to substantial progress. But community activists, from Parkchester to Chinatown, say that despite tough talk and some decisive city action, the problem has not gone away.

"I still feel like a prisoner in my own apartment and can't, on the best days, park in my own ZIP code, while placard abusers have carte blanche here," said a disgruntled Upper East Side resident, who asked to remain unnamed. "A no parking area is a free parking area for them," he added.
A Brief History of Parking Placards

Parking in New York City has been the subject of a Calvin Trillin novel, the set-up for a memorable Seinfeld episode and the cause of much malfeasance. It's an obsession for most drivers and has significant impacts on pedestrians, cyclists and transit users. It should come as no surprise then that the use of parking placards has long been hotly contested.

For years, local reporters like David Seifman of the New York Post and Pete Donohue at the New York Daily News published hard-hitting stories about the use and abuse of city issued parking permits, and community groups like the Brooklyn Heights Association and Lower Manhattan's Civic Center Resident's Coalition did their best to call attention to the issue. Not until Transportation Alternatives released Uncivil Servants, a snap-shot survey of parking placard abuse in Chinatown, though, did the public have data thorough enough to detail the extent of the parking placard problem.

The Uncivil Servants survey found that between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. on March 29, 2006 there were 99 cars illegally parked on sidewalks and in front of fire hydrants in a five-block study area, as well as 16 cars illegally parked blocking a pedestrian refuge island. More than 90 percent of the illegally parked cars had parking placards.

That survey was followed by the September 2007 publication of another Transportation Alternatives report, titled "Above the Law," that found "77 percent of permit holders use them illegally" and the launch of, a user-driven anti-placard Web site. By the winter of 2007, the parking placard issue had been cemented in the public's consciousness.
The Problem with Placards

In addition to the obvious "it's unfair" argument that surrounds the parking placard debate, advocates maintain that the inappropriate use of parking placards adds tens of thousands of additional vehicles to the city's already overcrowded streets. A 2006 study by Bruce Schaller, now deputy commissioner of planning and sustainability at the Department of Transportation, found that if government workers commuted by auto at the same rate as their private sector counterparts, 19,200 fewer vehicles would enter Manhattan every day. The report concluded that the free and convenient parking that placards allow encourages many civil servants to drive. It also finds that $46 million a year in potential parking meter revenue is lost as a result.

Transportation Alternatives, in its numerous studies, also points to the dangers and inconveniences caused by illegally parked vehicles that go unticketed and untowed. One of the group's earliest press releases on the issue proclaims, "Such egregious illegal parking slows emergency response times, jeopardizes public safety, cripples truck and delivery traffic, impedes pedestrian flow, damages businesses and sends a message to community residents that their neighborhood is less important than the private vehicles of civil servants."

Residents of neighborhoods where illegally parked cars clog the streets have even stronger words. "This crap is a severe quality of life issue for residents like me. If I could come and go as I please and park anywhere at any time I would have a significantly better existence here," said the Upper East Side resident.

But some city employees, particularly teachers, firefighters and police officers insist that being able to park easily is essential to their jobs. The author of NYC Educator, a blog focused on education issues, sarcastically responded to the mayor's placard reduction: "Of course, it behooves a good teacher to spend 20 minutes trying to snag a parking space, or walk to school from Connecticut, if that's what it takes to maintain 'accountability.' You can't effectively implement 'reforms' if you don't thoroughly inconvenience unionized employees on a regular basis for no reason whatsoever."

In response to such concerns, Bronx City Councilmember Maria Baez has introduced legislation requiring that every public school teacher receive a parking permit. Baez's office reportedly received complaints that teachers without placards were abandoning classrooms to go feed parking meters.

Christopher Fenyo, a firefighter, offered another argument in a comment on the New York Times' City Room blog: "We are often detailed midtour to other firehouses when there is a fire somewhere else, and some firemen get hurt," he wrote. "We use our personal vehicle because it is, believe it or not, more efficient to go from Harlem to Astoria, for example, at 2 a.m., than it is to use mass transit (and if the fireman detailed doesn't have a car, one of those who do will often loan them theirs). That fire company is out of service until they are fully staffed." He continued, "So the faster I get there, the better for everyone, civilian and employee alike. It ticks me off when I see permits abused. And it rightly angers the public. But make no mistake, we need to be able to park cars."
The Administration's Actions

In early 2008, when Bloomberg, Kelly and Sadik-Khan announced their plans, the stage was set for unprecedented action on the parking placard issue.

In mid-March, the Transportation Department followed up by releasing a comprehensive study of parking in Lower Manhattan that found fewer than 2,000 parking spots available to drivers without placards and more than 11,000 available to those in possession of them. In April, news came that the police department was aggressively cracking down on illegally parked cars with placards. The New York Post reported that 178 tickets were issued in a four-day Internal Affairs' sweep of streets in Lower Manhattan -- along with the arrest of a retired sergeant for using a fake placard.

Then in May came the meat and potatoes of the administration's plan: a drastic citywide reduction in the number of placards from 80,770 to 54,891, along with a pledge to cut the Department of Education's 63,390 placards by a similar percentage. By July, the Post was reporting that the police had issued more than 3,530 tickets to parking placard abusers over a three-month period.

The most recent numbers are even more striking. "The mayor's efforts have resulted in over 50 percent fewer placards being issued to city workers," according to Jason Post, a spokesman for the mayor. "To encourage compliance, a dedicated unit in NYPD's internal affairs bureau has issued over 6,000 summonses, and over 1,000 cars have been towed for placard violations."

As a result, he continued, "Neighborhood leaders have told city officials that they see a noticeable reduction in the misuse and abuse of placards, and with over 78,000 fewer placards on the street, it's easy to understand why."
Placards Today

Despite these efforts, critics insist that the most flagrant types of parking placard abuse, like parking in front of fire hydrants and employees' using placards after working hours, still go unchecked because many police officers turn a blind eye to benefit other cops, as well as city employees.

"On paper, the city has made enormous cuts [in the number of placards], and we give them credit for it," said Wiley Norvell of Transportation Alternatives, which will soon begin another citywide survey of placard abuse. "But without the day-to-day enforcement from NYPD to back it up, illegal parking and permit abuse are still rampant."

Some neighborhood residents are more explicit: "It has gotten worse," said Oscar Ruiz, who lives in the Parkchester section of the Bronx. "The same people, who I have pictures of from a year ago, have new placards and their committing the same violations. How can you park in front of a hydrant five days a week? I have pictures of that."

"I spoke with parking enforcement and they tell me they would like to give tickets, but they can't," Ruiz continued. "It's NYPD politics. They don't summons their own." For many residents, this is the sticking point: Despite the administration's efforts and the drastic reduction in the number of placards issued, the NYPD still shirks its ticketing duty.

Jan Lee, the owner of a Mott Street business and member of the Civic Center Resident's Coalition, said he has noticed some real change on Mott Street but worries about what will happen in this election year and what could come when a new commanding officer is appointed to head his local precinct.

"The issue is that all of a sudden there will be a huge blitz, but that can change with who's at the helm," he said. "That's why it's premature for City Hall to pat itself on the back."

To avoid such irregular enforcement, Lee and his colleagues want to get rid of the parking placards all together. In place of the permits, they suggest the city develop a 21st century system that would let civil servants who need to park for official business register their vehicle to a given space for a set amount of time using a telephone or computer, the city's 311 helpline and Department of Motor Vehicle information. Any ticket given to the vehicle while it was registered to use a particular space would be void, but a ticket given afterward would be as valid as any other.

"What this would do is discourage government employees from using cars and abusing parking privileges," Lee said. "More importantly, taking away the physical reminder -- the placard itself -- would remove a degree of intimidation for those whose job it is to enforce the law."

According to Lee, the mayor's office was not receptive to the idea. "We mentioned this to (Deputy Mayor) Ed Skyler and he laughed in our face. They don't want to give up a bargaining chip," he said, referring to the value of placards in union negotiations and during an election year.

How all of this -- the elections, appointments of future commanding officers and new technologies -- will affect the placard problem is anybody's guess, but what seems quite certain is that the issue will continue to raise tempers on all sides.

Chatham Square on CURBED

Chatham Sq. Project Churns On

Friday, January 16, 2009, by Joey

Not much has changed regarding the controversial redesign of Chatham Square in Chinatown: lots of residents and businesses still hate it, and the city still plans on pushing it through. The Villager writes: "A four-year construction period during an economic recession that will coincide at some point with the two-year-long reconstruction of the Brooklyn Bridge and the simultaneous construction in Chatham Square on the city’s Third Water Tunnel is likely to wreak havoc on Chinatown businesses and the neighborhood’s quality of life, residents said at the Jan. 12 task force meeting. However, Thomas Yu, a Community Board 3 member and chairperson of the task force, said the city intends to put the project out to bid this month and sign contracts for the work early in March." [The Villager, previous]

The CURBED blog post on Chatham Square is full of sarcastic comments by supporters of the Chatham Square plan. They are saying things like "It is simply an outrage that these improvements are being made to our city's streetscape! We must continue to have dysfunctional traffic layouts and crummy pedestrian environments!

Hiss boo, I say!"

and "The proposed layout is clearly the better option"

However a more logical comment read as follows:

"Supporters of the Chatham Square reconstruction plan on this blog are basing their fondness for it on diagrams that were made public in LATE nov. 08.
Bulldozers are scheduled to move into Chinatown July 09.
Those diagrams were only made avail to the public because CHINATOWN residents and businesses DEMANDED that they be made public at a small meeting with DOT reps. two WEEKS prior to the 2nd ever public hearing on Chatham SQuare. HAd the residents and businesses NOT demanded the info be posted on the DOT website and subsequently on the CB3 website the public at large would STILL be denied access to the plan.
THe DOT, despite requests to do so, NEVER provided a single handout , nor pamphlet, in English or Chinese at any meeting ! Chinatown residents and businesses were denied access to the plan prior to a public hearing scheduled during the busy Christmas retail season, and were told that in January bids for construction were already going out.
How can any community make any decisions on a plan's safety , efficiency, quality, or legitimacy if it has less than 12 days for the entire community to review it? The English and Chinese press were DENIED access to the materials presented prior to the DEc. 2nd 08 hearing ( the 2nd public hearing for Chatham Square). Reporters had to describe in Chinese two hours worth of complicated diagrams, traffic flow patterns,and changes that would last generations in their newspapers. This was wholly irresponsible on the part of the City AND DOT.
IT was not an oversight, it was deliberate. The Chinese community had to fight to get the diagrams you salivate over with tooth and nail. These plans you so readily accept DO have trees in them ,yes they are cherry trees - glad you saw that detail. What you didn't see and didn't even know about was that the plan lacks something much more important than the TREES you fight for with such vigor - it lacks any pedestrian safety plan.
I make no apologies for fighting against a plan that has pretty plazas and Cherry trees when I know that those are on the diagrams to draw attention away from the fact that there is no supporting DATA to show us that it is indeed a safe plan.
The CB3 traffic engineer has reviewed the plan and suggested to the Chinatown community that there are parts of this plan that don't work. No one denies that Chatham Square needs to be redesigned - it was NOT designed by Chinatown in the first place lets not forget - we're living with a failed plan - we don't want it to FAIL again. We are listening to our residents who traverse this square daily, and to CB3's traffic engineer.
You cannot possibly support a plan that lacks certain basic pedestrian safety data, and one that incorporates crash stats that end at 2005. Chinatown has been fighting like Hell to get the data we need to make rational and important decisions unfettered by drawings with trees and plazas. I'm saddened that so many of you supporters do so without attending a single Chatham Square Task Force meeting, or even bothering to understand that it is WE in Chinatown that have to live with the consequences of the DOT's heavy hand - our neighbors in Brooklyn, Battery Park City, NJ, and Williamsburg will also suffer from this if WE are not VIGILANT. "

Simply Irrational - letters to the editor - Downtown Express

Simply irrational

To The Editor:
Re “Bridge, brides, bottlenecks raise Chatham Square scare” (news article, Jan. 16 – 22):

“A simpler and more rational intersection at Chatham Square,” as you paraphrased Shin-Pei Tsay of Transportation Alternatives, should be the first consideration in any redesign of the square — a necessary but not sufficient condition for the project. However, the city is about to start the project and, as Community Board 3’s traffic engineer Brian Ketcham reports, the city has done no pedestrian or safety analysis of either the current configuration or the proposed configuration. It also has done only a “sunny day” analysis of motor vehicle traffic. It has done no analysis of the impact of the four-year project on the economic environment of Chinatown. In short, the city is jumping into this project essentially blind.

As someone who has grown up in the Chatham Square area, I am intimately familiar with its usage patterns and I believe that the proposed plan might have simpler intersections, but is not rational for the area. After all, the simplest design is no intersection at all — but the ramifications of doing that would give the city reason to pause and perhaps even think. The fact is the city is proposing taking away key crosswalks which would force school children heading to P.S. 1 to cross more and busier streets. Unless one knows and cares about the children, the seniors, the people who have to cross these “rational intersections,” one cannot make a balanced and informed decision about the proposed configuration. The traffic resulting from the redesign would not only be worse in the heavily utilized southbound Bowery-Worth St. route, but probably less able to take spikes in traffic, lane work, or other “unexpected” conditions.

Transportation Alternatives obviously has a better track record than Chinatown residents of getting the city to listen to their concerns. I encourage them to work with Chinatown residents to convince the city to abandon faulty plans in favor of ones that would work better for the local and general population. Otherwise, they are simply signing off on the moral equivalent of the Gowanus Expressway through the historic heart of Chinatown.

Danny Chen
Member of the C.B. 3 Chatham Square Task Force and the Chatham Green board

Saturday, January 24, 2009

"Reconfiguring sidewalk space and "expanding" sidewalks in Chinatown

Senator Squadron and Borough President Stringer presented their nine point plan for traffic safety shortly after the tragedy that took two young lives in Chinatown last week.

CCRC applauds their emphasis on the City's need to do a better job of "working with Community Boards and other community organizations, drawing on the invaluable input that only neighborhood residents and businesses can provide. The City must respect and acknowledge community priorities such as the re-opening of Park Row, and work with local stakeholders, in order to build consensus behind comprehensive traffic management plans."

We also applaud their mention in the nine point plan to "keep the sidewalks clear of street furniture, garbage, and other obstacles that infringe on public safety."
This has proven to be much easier said than done in the last fifteen or so years.
The struggle has been well documented in keeping sidewalks clear of merchandise.

However we must caution about other recommendations to "reconfigure sidewalk space" and to "expand sidewalks". This cannot and should not be done until well after all the sidewalks have been completely cleared of illegally placed merchandise, and store facades are required to comply with the law. To start "reconfiguring" and "expanding" without first restoring existing sidewalk conditions is premature and irresponsible. Mott St. has already enjoyed more room on the sidewalk with the recent removal of parking meters.

It was suggested some five years ago that to make more room on sidewalks in Chinatown, all the City needs to do is "widen the sidewalk" that is, pour more concrete (thereby narrowing the roadway). It was a bad idea then, it's an even worse idea now.
Now the suggestion is being revisited. Not only is this suggestion expensive to do (utilities are underground and before pouring concrete anywhere it is likely that those utilities must be relocated - expensive, inconvenient, dangerous!) it is also shortsighted and typical of a bureaucratic approach. As troublesome and laborious as it is to survey sidewalks, relocate utilities, and pour more concrete , for a politician it's actually EASIER to do that than to actually address the core of the problem. Why are the sidewalks difficult to navigate in the first place?

In this case the problem stems from merchants that violate the law by placing merchandise on the sidewalk.
Much more difficult than pouring concrete is being the politician who ordered the crackdown on illegal sidewalk use, especially in an ethnic neighborhood. YET, we feel as though that is exactly what needs to be done. Note to the Borough President "don't take the easy way out". Keep the historic and authentic character of Chinatown by eliminating sidewalk selling. Nothing is permitted beyond the building facade by more than a few INCHES, on the sidewalk AND hanging from any awning.

CCRC sat with the Borough President's aides in 2006 at the office of the Borough President and when asked "what can we do to make Chinatown transportation better" our response was clear, succinct, and logical : "enforce the law". The message was simple, sidewalks in Chinatown are inundated with illegally placed merchandise which severely lessens sidewalk space. The condition is rampant, although that's not the way it always was. CCRC members are all local and recall a time when merchants had closed storefronts and did business from INSIDE their stores.

An influx of vital as well as vibrant businesses poured into Chinatown in the late 80's and with it a style of selling that was imported to our streets much different than the local shop keepers who for the most part lived in Chinatown. These new merchants, very few of whom were able to find a home in Chinatown, or simply opted not to live here, cared little for the quality of life of local residents and focused their attention instead on literally stopping tourists and shoppers in their tracks by placing the merchandise at their feet. This was true for plastic toys and raw fish, live frogs or handbags, all could be bought on the sidewalk without ever setting foot into a shop.

Cathy Glasson, a resident and community activist continues to fight for her sidewalk space on Mott St. and despite the threats to her safety she appeared on the 6'o clock news exposing this practice, she wrote to all the papers and get this, she started doing this in the mid 1990's !!!

The City of NY looks at various neighborhoods very differently, with a clear biased to some and blatant disrespect to others. When it comes to sidewalk space and the enforcement of existing laws prohibiting the selling of merchandise on the sidewalk, Chinatown is clearly in the "others" category.

Amazingly the best the City has done since the illegal practice of breaking open storefronts and allowing merchandise to pour onto sidewalks in Chinatown has been to REGULATE newsracks. Newsracks?! A newsrack takes up about 1/20th the space of an illegally placed merchandise shelf or ten buckets of slimey fish, yet the City has found it necessary to regulate THAT of all things.

In the meantime, merchants flaunt the system and enjoy their al fresco selling regardless of season, regardless of merchandise, and in the face of numerous city agencies combing our streets.

The Borough President revisiting our recommendations to remove obstructions, but he should not implement any "reconfiguring" or "expanding" of sidewalk space without first making sure 100% of our sidewalk space has been RECLAIMED. We urge him to find a way to cut through what ever interagency red tape he has to. Pouring concrete on our streets will effectively ADD more selling space for hot dog stands, pushcarts, and more illegal selling to take place, WHILE slowing traffic , EMERGENCY VEHICLES included!!!!

Solution to narrow sidewalk space : "Enforce the Law" clear up the sidewalks from illegal selling, and Chinatown will gain tens of thousands of SQUARE FEET !!!
We're ready to feel safe again Mr. Borough President and Senator Squadron, we don't want to walk into the gutter any more, and our elderly and children deserve to be able to use our sidewalks for what they are intended for, walking not selling.

Friday, January 23, 2009

An excerpt from the NY Times covering the Press Conference at Chatham Square - BP Scott Stringer and Senator Daniel Squadron

"Scott M. Stringer, the Manhattan borough president, and State Senator Daniel L. Squadron said on Friday that the city needed to do more to protect pedestrians in Chinatown. They said there had been 25 traffic deaths there from 1995 to 2005, more than in any other Manhattan neighborhood.

A Transportation Department spokesman, Seth Solomonow, said in an e-mail message that there had been no fatal accidents on the block of East Broadway between Market and Catherine Streets, where Thursday’s accident took place, in the last nine years and about three nonfatal pedestrian accidents a year during that time. He said that in the last 18 months, the department had installed a traffic signal and a crosswalk on the East Broadway block and sidewalk extensions in the area of the accident."
In Chinatown, Grief and Goodbyes for Two Dead Children

Published: January 23, 2009

A traffic plan presented by the Borough President

1/23/2009 - Borough President Scott Stringer Demands New Pedestrian Safety Plan For Chinatown

In the wake of yesterday’s tragic traffic fatalities in Chinatown, State Senator Daniel Squadron, and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer outlined an nine-point Chinatown pedestrian safety plan, and demanded that the City act immediately and decisively to protect pedestrians from dangerous traffic conditions that have plagued Chinatown for far too long.

The plan calls for “zero tolerance” traffic enforcement; the banning of trucks and buses from traversing local streets; more pedestrians safety measures such as bollards and speed bumps; and a comprehensive traffic management plan to serve residents, businesses and vehicles passing through the neighborhood.

“Chinatown is a bustling 21st century neighborhood, but as one of the oldest parts of the City, it is saddled with an 18th century pedestrian infrastructure,” said Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer. “Chinatown residents and businesses have suffered from dangerous traffic conditions for too long. We must reclaim our streets and sidewalks now, before another life is needlessly lost.”

State Senator Daniel Squadron said, “While no one could ever have predicted the precise circumstances of yesterday’s tragedy, anyone who has spent time in Chinatown knows that the streets and sidewalks are overcrowded and overburdened. It is high time to bring modern transportation’s three ‘E’s’ – education, engineering, and enforcement – to creating safer streets for Chinatown.”

“My Chinatown community relies upon the high volume of pedestrian traffic created by local residents, students traveling to and from school, workers and tourists who frequent the many small businesses and restaurants in the area,” said New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. “Yesterday’s tragic accident, which took the lives of two young children, is further proof that real action must be taken to properly manage local truck and bus traffic in order to protect the thousands of pedestrians that travel on our streets. I call on the city to implement the nine-step plan that we have outlined as quickly as possible. While we can never undo the acts of the past, we can and must work to ensure that such horrific tragedies never happen again.”

Chinatown’s greatest assets – its unparalleled street-level activity and its regional commercial draw – create unique traffic conditions that demand creative solutions. Chinatown’s zip code had 25 fatalities and 1,149 injuries from 1995 to 2005, more fatalities than any other Manhattan zip code, and the area has been targeted in DOT’s Senior Pedestrian Safety Program. While the City has taken important recent steps to calm traffic conditions in Chinatown, far more must be done.

“Chinatown streets aren't up to the basic job of keeping pedestrians safe,” says Paul Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives. “We need immediate action to end the mix of reckless driving, oppressive traffic and outdated street design that continues to take so many lives.”

Justin Yu, President of the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association, said, “Improvement of traffic safety in the Chinatown area requires full scale planning. CCBA will continue monitoring the enforcement of related government agencies, and the development of improved traffic planning. We will continue working together with appropriate government agencies and elected officials, to improve traffic safety in Chinatown. We hope the tragedy of January 22nd will never occur again in Chinatown.”

Squadron and Stringer outlined a nine-point Chinatown pedestrian safety plan and called on City officials to work immediately with community leaders to implement it:

Better coordination with community-based planning efforts and priorities. The City must do a better job of working with Community Boards and other community organizations, drawing on the invaluable input that only neighborhood residents and businesses can provide. The City must respect and acknowledge community priorities such as the re-opening of Park Row, and work with local stakeholders, in order to build consensus behind comprehensive traffic management plans. The City should provide planning and community organizing resources to organizations such as the Chinatown Working Group, which has brought together many of Chinatown’s diverse stakeholders, in order to allow them to undertake a community-based process for meeting Chinatown’s traffic concerns and related planning issues, with cultural and linguistic sensitivity to the area’s unique character.

A comprehensive study of neighborhood traffic and pedestrian patterns that “connects the dots” between local accident “hot spots” and traffic flow at major arteries such as East Broadway, the Bowery, Canal and Allen Streets. The study must draw heavily on community input, document the traffic patterns of greatest public safety concern, and use detailed modeling to demonstrate the impacts of potential traffic engineering solutions.

Reconfigured sidewalk space that privileges and protects Chinatown’s residents, workers, shoppers, and bicyclists, and is sensitive to the unique character of Chinatown’s sidewalks. Chinatown is a “street-level” neighborhood that depends on the liveliness of its sidewalks. The City must work to expand sidewalks to increase pedestrian space, make the area more hospitable to pedestrians and bicyclists, and keep the sidewalks clear of street furniture, garbage, and other obstacles that infringe on public safety.

Comprehensive coordination of trucks, buses and other high-intensity vehicular uses. Chinatown’s cultural prominence, and its location between the East River Bridges and the Holland Tunnel, has made it a center of commercial traffic and regional travel. The City must respond to these conditions by enforcing truck route zones and effectively managing bus layovers, as Manhattan Community Board 3 has consistently recommended. Commercial trucks must not be allowed to traverse local streets that were not built to withstand their impact, and buses must not be allowed to create unsafe traffic conditions. The City should also explore strategic management of commercial deliveries, in order to allow small businesses to thrive without causing dangerous conditions for pedestrians.

Increased traffic calming measures, such as curb extensions, speed tables and leading pedestrian intervals. While the City has implemented some traffic calming efforts on Chinatown's main roadways, traffic calming measures need to be instituted more quickly and more extensively, with specific attention to areas near schools and senior centers.

Comprehensive parking strategies that create the necessary space for businesses to receive deliveries without requiring double-parking or inviting vehicles to park on the sidewalk.

Coordination of major City-initiated projects, such as the upcoming Brooklyn Bridge renovation, which will have significant traffic impacts on this neighborhood.

Modern, flexible traffic reduction techniques like congestion pricing and variable market-rate street parking that will encourage public transit use and keep traffic flowing calmly and safely through Chinatown.

Effective and sensible enforcement of traffic laws. Illegal and dangerous driving should not be tolerated in any neighborhood, but the need for enforcement in Chinatown is particularly acute because of its narrow streets, heavy commercial activity, and immediate proximity to major bridges, highways and thoroughfares. While the City must respect and meet business’ need to receive deliveries, NYPD and DOT should collaborate on an enforcement strategy that creates an atmosphere of “zero tolerance” for dangerous driving patterns that have become commonplace throughout Chinatown. Local elected officials must also commit to providing NYPD and DOT with sufficient resources to address the situation with the number of officers and staff that the community deserves.

Julie Menin, Chair of Manhattan Community Board 1, said, “I am deeply saddened by the terrible tragedy that occurred. Pedestrian safety in Chinatown has been an ongoing problem for the downtown community as traffic literally chokes and clogs our streets. I commend Senator Squadron and Borough President for these proactive safety measures to address this troubling problem in our community.”

Brad Hoylman, Chair of Manhattan Community Board 2, said, “Community Board 2 has long recognized pedestrian safety issues in the Chinatown neighborhood. We commend Borough President Stringer and State Senator Squadron for proposing proactive steps to address this serious problem and look forward to helping build community support to implement them.”

Dominic Pisciotta, Chair of Manhattan Community Board 3, said, “Community Board 3 extends its deepest sympathies to the families and friends of those who have been affected by yesterday's tragic accident. We hope the families find tremendous strength and community support as they grieve their loss. Community Board 3 will continue to work with our local officials and the City of New York to ensure that the highest standards of pedestrian safety measures are analyzed and implemented in this heavily trafficked corridor as well as the areas surrounding it.”

Jan Lee from the Civic Center Residents Coalition said, “The lack of cooperation between the city and Chinatown has been a real frustration.”

Jeanie Chin from the CCRC, added, “This community has been a dumping ground for traffic. The Brooklyn Bridge reconfiguration is going to bring thousands of vehicles needlessly through Chinatown. The city and DOT have been studying Chinatown traffic for years, with little result. We need stronger measures.”

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Senator Daniel Squadron Press Conference at Park Row

Senator Daniel Squadron is holding a press conference at Park Row near Worth St. on Friday Jan. 23rd at 12:15 pm
Civic Center Residents Coalition hopes the public comes out to support Senator Squadron.

"State Senator Squadron and Borough President Stringer, joined by community advocates, will release comprehensive plan for improved pedestrian safety in Chinatown. The event follows today’s tragic fatal traffic crash on East Broadway. "

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Brooklyn Building Boom $3 Billion in new residential projects

Brooklyn is "enjoying" a huge development boom across the river from Chinatown in Flatbush according to a NY Post story from 2007 "The bulk will come in the form of at least 4,422 new residential units, much of which will be spread among high-rise towers reaching 40 stories high that will soon line the avenue.

We're talking about 2,063 market-rate rentals and 1,721 luxury condos, along with another 570 apartments and 68 condos created for low- and middle-income families.

And these projects will also bring 645,000 square feet of new retail and another 190,000 square feet of office space." NY Post By RICH CALDER June 25, 2007.

The NYC Dept. of Transportation would have us all believe that over four thousand new residential units in downtown Brooklyn will have no impact on traffic. Reports on the affects of closure on Park Row in Chinatown, and the presentations for the Chatham Square redesign have ignored the building boom in Brooklyn just over the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges. Ironically the same firm Phillip Habib and Assoc. is responsible for both Flatbush Ave. projects in Brooklyn AND Park Row and Chatham Square's projects in Manhattan's Chinatown.
CCRC wants to know why the City, DOT, and Habib have conspired to ignore all the traffic data regarding these new developments and their impact on the impending construction planned for Chatham Square.

What we DO know from Community Board 3's paid traffic engineer, Brian Ketchum is that traffic WILL back up on Flatbush Ave. (particularly at Tillary) as a result of years of construction at Chatham Square and the overlapping refurb. of the Brooklyn Bridge.

We've also learned that no community boards in Brooklyn even know about the construction slated to begin in July in Chinatown, they're not going to know what hit them once the traffic backs up.

We intend to inform them.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Brooklyn Boom

Across the river from Chinatown on Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn several huge luxury condo buildings have risen. Among them is the Toren - $300,000.00 - $1 Million per unit, at Flatbush and Myrtle Avenues.
With the rise in luxury condos comes the rise in traffic into Chinatown from Brooklyn. It makes sense that newbies to Brooklyn don't just drive within Brooklyn, they drive to Manhattan, sometimes daily.
The most direct routes into Manhattan from the Toren and the other condo towers on Flatbush are the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges. The Manhattan Bridge empties into Chinatown via Canal st. and The Brooklyn Bridge traffic flows through Chatham Square via St. James Place, YET Phillip Habib, the City's planner for the redesign of Chatham Square never bothered to include the enormous rise in condo units just over the Bridges from Chinatown in ANY redesign presentation. Interestingly Phillip Habib was also the City's planner for many of the Flatbush condo projects! What gives?!
Either the planner is grossly incompetent in this omission or he is following executive orders to use pin point focus on Chatham Square alone when considering its redesign. It doesn't take a degree in City planning to point out the obvious affect of increased traffic over the bridges and through the tunnels so why the conspicuous omission?
Do the new residents in the Toren all bicycle? Does everyone who buys a luxury condo unit these days forego a car opting instead to walk, use mass transit or bike from the neighborhing borough? Do the buyers of half million to $1M condos these days walk to Brooklyn to apartment hunt?
Phillip Habib and the City would like us to think so, but we know better.
The new condos that popped up on Worth Street between Centre and Broadway have already caused an increase in traffic on Worth St. and Chatham Square.
The new marriage bureau (formerly the DMV) on Worth St. is another magnet for traffic, again no mention of the "Las Vegas Style Wedding Mill" in the Chatham Square redesign plans.

NOTE TO HABIB: WAKE UP! more condos = more cars . Put it in the analysis.

Phillip Habib was slammed by the Chinatown community for, among other things committing "illegal segmentation of data" (as pointed out by CB3's District Manager) and using too small a sample group and survey of businesses in Chinatown in the socioeconomic portion of the judge ordered E.I.S. for the closure of Park Row. Omissions of pertinent data and elastic bounderies are a few tricks the City's "hired gun" has used before.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Oversight Overdue

For too long the Dept. of Transportation has gotten away with altering streets without sufficient oversight or community input. On a frigid Saturday a week before Christmas a rally was held in front of The DOT headquarters to call for the Transportation Committee of The City Council to hold an oversight hearing with the D.O.T. to stop using communities as experimental rats in a maze.
Tribeca, Greenwich Village, Chinatown, and SoHo stood shoulder to shoulder in the freezing weather (a testament to how devoted communities are to this cause) to bring attention to the need for an end to free wheeling deal making with special interest groups hell bent on bull dozing through projects that are untested, unproven and unreasonable .