12/6 Traffic meeting recap & next steps

Department of Transit Manhattan Borough Commissioner Luis Sanchez took questions for an hour at Wednesday night’s meeting of the 7th Precinct Community Council from residents concerned about the increased traffic on Grand and Clinton Streets.

Sanchez said DOT has looked at a bunch of different options — traffic signal timing, changes in signage on the FDR, banning a right turn onto Clinton from Grand — to alleviate congestion in this residential corridor, but has not settled on any solution. Construction, said Sanchez, at Essex Crossing and the Houston Street on/off ramps has caused major headaches and make any analysis subject to change as soon as the construction zones shift.

Bottom line: DOT does not yet have any recommendations to alleviate congestion on Grand and Clinton.

Here’s a live view of traffic in our neighborhood from Waze:

But the hundred or so neighbors who came out Wednesday were not ready to take “no” for an answer.

Several community members asked if there is nothing to do about the number of cars, can the police do anything about the honking, often late at night? Honking tickets, it turns out, are particularly difficult to issue — and create even more congestion while drivers are pulled over.

How about cameras at East Broadway and Clinton to fine drivers who block the box? It turns out there is state legislation about how many traffic cameras can be installed in New York and in what areas.

Many people had specific suggestions about how to re-route traffic to the Williamsburg Bridge. How about opening Suffolk Street northbound so there are three ways to get from Grand to Delancey? Or turn Delancey Street under the bridge into the main access point, bypassing Grand Street altogether? What if the whole neighborhood were blocked off from through traffic so that cars are pushed up Essex or even Allen? Each option got a lukewarm response from DOT’s Sanchez, with assurances that every option is still on the table.

So what will it take to get the DOT to make some real changes? We plan to continue putting pressure on DOT officials to make sure they know just how disruptive this problem is to our residential community. Right now we are working with Councilmember Margaret Chin to hold a Traffic Town Hall on Thursday, January 11, where we’ll have a chance to make clear to DOT officials that the traffic madness has to stop.