Sunday, June 7, 2009

Thompson said to City Hall in Dec. 2008 "Chatham Square must be delayed"


December 16, 2008
Contact: Press Office

(212) 669-3747


New York City Comptroller William C. Thompson, Jr. is expressing deep concerns about the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Chatham Square / Park Row Improvement Program.

In a letter to DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan – which can be viewed at – Thompson criticized the agency for moving forward with the plan despite overwhelming community opposition from Chinatown and surrounding neighborhoods.

“It’s clear that Chatham Square – with its long crossings and poor pedestrian sight lines – must be rethought, and that he congested traffic on Park Row must be improved,” Thompson said.. “But process matters, and the City has not engaged in sufficient dialogue with community members. As it stands now, neighborhood representatives feel left out of the process.”

Thompson also expressed concern that Community Board 3 is scheduled to vote on the plan tonight, after one hardly-publicized hearing on December 2, 2008.

“As a result, a plan that would completely tear down and redesign a large area of Chinatown may be approved within the span of two weeks,” Thompson added. “Clearly, community members have not been given enough time to respond to the plan nor even comprehend it, as specific details have been perfunctory at best.”

In the letter, Thompson emphasized that DOT cannot guarantee that local small businesses will be supported during the project’s construction phase as a fatal flaw. He also cited DOT’s lack of a specific timeline for the project as problematic, and stressed that the plan does not make clear when, exactly, Park Row will be opened.

“These and other questions must be answered before this ill-conceived plan moves forward,” Thompson said. “For the sake of community members, local businesses, and our City government’s responsibility to operate fairly and transparently, I strongly urge you to delay this proposal and being to address the community’s significant needs and concerns.”

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