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June 26, 2013- By Steven E. Greer, MD
What became a true model for how the community can interact with the City Department of Transportation (DOT) to shape city planning architecture, a group of 11 people (BPC residents, CB1 members, and DOT) walked the path of the most problematic areas of BPC, from Liberty Street down to West Thames Street this morning. Recall, the DOT is planning to make changes to the design of those streets to improve safety and reduce commercial truck congestion. In addition, the entire region of BPC could become a “Slow zone” with additional changes.
The idea to meet on the street and tour with the DOT staff arose after the last meeting in the CB1 offices, when it became apparent that the DOT draft plans needed some tweaking. Evan Lacher of the CB1 and Joshua Kraus of the DOT arranged for the walk and talk.
In contrast to the previous meeting, there was little rancor or feuding. The best ideas were raised and generally accepted. Real-life examples of the traffic problems transpired before the group, helping convince the DOT of the need for action.
The most problematic area is the intersection of West Thames and South End Avenue, which astonishingly does not even have a stop sign. After the DOT staff saw the reckless driving for their own eyes, a greater sense of urgency seemed to be the takeaway message.
The DOT will draft new plans and present them to the community soon.
(Notably absent from the walking group was any representative from the Battery Park City Authority, such as Anne Fenton, Matt Monahan, or Demetrios Boutris, all of whom were present the night before taking credit for the opening of Asphalt Green at the CB1 meeting.)