After hearing descriptions of near-misses at the intersection of Madison and Grand, the CB3 Transportation Committee tonight voted to recommend that the Department of Transportation study ways to improve pedestrian safety at two problematic crosswalks.
The committee was obviously influenced by the number of cooperators in attendance, including board member Lee Berman and house committee members Jeff Super and Michael Marino. In addition, cooperator Yaron Altman, who sits on the committee, spoke in favor of the proposal and encouraged his colleagues to approve the resolution.
The representative from the DOT in attendance had already heard from house committee member Leo Hoenig about the issue, and indicated that there were several options that DOT would consider.
One thing I learned tonight is that the M22 is not meant to park at the intersection — the bus layover is farther down Grand Street where there is more room for buses to take a break. The CB3 district manager said she would ask the NYPD at the 7th Precinct to enforce the proper bus layover.
Thanks to everyone who came out tonight to press our case.
If you live in building 1, you know how dangerous it is to cross the long, unprotected crosswalk along Grand Street on your way to Fine Fare. The light isn’t long enough to make it all the way without sprinting, and with no pedestrian island, and cars making turns from every direction, you’re left on your own in the middle of the street.
And if you live in building 2, you know how bad the sight lines are crossing Madison the short way. Cars often don’t see, or ignore, the first crosswalk. Especially when a city bus is parked at that bus stop, drivers can’t even see the first stop light and traffic sign, and head straight through the crosswalk to settle under the second stop light by building 2’s driveway.
After years of complaining, we’re going to do something about it. Leo Hoenig of the house committee has alerted NYC Department of Transportation of these dangerous crossings, and the issue has been placed on the agenda of CB3’s transportation committee meeting on Thursday, October 20. A transportation committee endorsement would push this issue to the full community board, and an endorsement there would compel DOT to analyze the intersection.
What we know about these kinds of bureaucratic procedures is this: the more people show up, the more likely you get what you want.
So please, if you’ve ever crossed these streets and cursed a driver, if you’ve ever been afraid to send your kids to the store or to school by themselves because of this dangerous intersection, take the time to come Thursday to make sure our community leaders understand how important this is to you.
General manager Shulie Wollman distributed a memo yesterday in which he urges all cooperators to exhibit the Golden Rule: “treat our neighbors as we ourselves would like to be treated.” Always a good reminder!
Cool weather and colored leaves means brats and bier steins … or at least some approximation. Join us Saturday, Oktober 29 for our second Co-op Co-oktoberfest! We’ll get under way at 4:00 pm in the courtyard between buildings 3 and 4 (north side of Grand Street) and stay until we freeze our tuches.
We’ll bring lots of food for the grill so if you’re coming by please help with that … $5/kid, $10/adult more or less. This is not a fundraiser, but since your neighbors are putting out for sausages, please put a little back in to help them out.
Curved ramps and an organic span over the FDR have become straight lines due to municipal requirements that the new structure be easily maintained with standard building elements.
A wide, welcoming park entrance on Delancey has been narrowed because of Department of Homeland Security requirements that a 50-foot security buffer be respected next to the Williamsburgh Bridge foundation.
An approach toward Grand Street for improved access to bus lines has been scrapped after considering the narrow sidewalk in front of building 4 and opposition from building 4 residents.
This last element — an approach toward Grand Street — was the most controversial when preliminary designs were shown last fall. Presenters tonight in the East River community room carefully explained the engineering and other obstacles that have forced them to abandon that part of the concept. A full ramp leading to Grand Street, where three city bus lines congregate, had no room over the narrow sidewalk and frontage road for supports. A shorter staircase faced similar problems and would have violated a stated goal of universal access, the idea that stairs should not be built where a ramp could not.
What’s left is still an improvement over the current bridge.
A shallow 5% grade on the ramp makes the park much more accessible for the elderly and disabled.
The ramp would be 4- to 6-feet wider, making it safer for pedestrians and bicycles to coexist.
New placement of the entrance ramp and relocation of the East River parking lot entrance enlarges the buffer between cars and bikes.
There’s still a lot left to learn about what the full ESCRP designs will look like. We are just over one-third of the way through the design process, with several more milestones for public engagement before plans are finalized. The date for construction to begin, which had been fast-tracked to 2017 by aggressive federal funding deadlines, has been pushed back two years. In particular, the question of what materials will be used — and whether sound absorbing materials can be used for the 8-foot wall we will be looking at across the FDR — could not be answered at all, and apparently will not even be considered until farther into the process.
It’s been a year since we’ve received any update on the huge East Side Coastal Resiliency Project, the federally-funded reconstruction of our East River waterfront to prevent another storm surge like the one we experienced during Sandy in 2012.
But now we have a big chance to hear what the engineers and landscape designers have come up with in that time during a public meeting this Thursday at 7 pm in our community room (building 4, section M).
Of particular interest to cooperators will be what project planners are proposing for the pedestrian bridge over the FDR Drive next to the Williamsburg Bridge. Last year, three directions were shared: one which stayed mainly true to the existing bridge; a more elaborate design that included a winding bridge and a stairs leading right in front of building 4; and a reimagining of the bridge as a full extension of East River Park into building 4’s lap.
Participants in public sessions last fall were largely weary of option 3, which seemed to take too much away from our own property. A heated discussion broke out among cooperators about the benefits and drawbacks of the staircase in option 2 — some thought it would encourage use of the park by providing a quicker pass from Grand Street, while others thought it would bring death and destruction.
Project planners seemed inclined to avoid any controversy, especially as a simpler bridge design would allow them to spend limited money on the other pedestrian bridges at Houston, 6th Street, and 10th Street, so it would not be surprising if their proposal this year looks more like last year’s more limited Option 1. But nothing is final, and community feedback is still important to this process.
There are major changes right around the corner for the stretch of waterfront in our backyard. Please come out Thursday to see what’s in store and make your voice heard:
Thursday, September 29
East River Coop Community Room
Building 4, Section M