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Will DOT Do Too Much For Grand Street?

DOT's Colleen Chattergoon

A satellite image of the intersection of Grand and the FDR Drive. Note the tire marks of cars entering from the highway and invariably hitting the median.

Yori Yanover

Last night at the CB3 Public Safety & Sanitation / Transportation Committees, it became clear that the attention our Assemblymember, Mr. Sheldon Silver, has focused on the stretch of Grand Street between the FDR Drive and Lewis Street with his letter to DOT Commissioner Iris Weinshall, may yield a solution rife with new problems, with the cures proving worse than the problems.

As presented by DOT representative Colleen Chattergoon, the DOT will reexamine the timing of the traffic signals at both intersections, and the relationship between them. Many in the neighborhood have been complaining that the pedestrian green light poses too much of an athletic challenge to our elderly, too often bringing to mind the slogan Run for your Life. It’s not the worst offended in this department. The Delancey crossings (where’s Amy Irving when you need her?) offer such a miserly green stretch, there’s no way to cross the damned street in less than two tries. Still, our FDR intersection at Grand is almost as entertaining, and several residents have reported brushes with vehicles making the turn from the highway into the street at 40 MPH.

We’ve asked for a simple solution: Instead of riding high from highway to street, channel exiting cars into the service road first, let them slow down sufficiently and then permit them into the street.

Not gonna’ happen. Instead, according to Chattergoon, the DOT will position traffic islands six feet wide and 15 feet long, at the median. The purpose of these concrete things will be to provide refuge to our elderly pedestrians – I’m not making this up – not unlike those drink stops alongside the Marathon route. Light turns green, elderly competitor starts shuffling across – too late? the red arm of the law starts blinking? Not to worry! We have them refuge islands. Sit down for a while, rest da weary bones, watch the highway-speed cars sweeping across, then try, try again.

Yes, this is a mad dash to solve a problem by making it twice as bad. As things stand now, cars swinging on the last rays of the green light – on yellow, really, even red – and turning into Grand, NEVER make it into the lane. Watch the satellite image and see the tracks of a million cars, they all cut well into the painted median. Replace the median with a concrete island and watch the number of accidents escalating. It’s Newtonian Physics, you know – car turning at 40 MPH into concrete median, concrete median pushes car off at 40 MPH in a fine trajectory. Then it’s all gravity and much loudness.

Chattergoon said the DOT wants to stretch these traffic islands all the way down to Clinton Street. It will certainly stop the illegal U turns on Grand, and the islands might look nice with flower beds and London trees – but at Grand and the FDR they will kill people.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

As we have sadly heard twice in the past week, of cars running up on sidewalks and killing and injuring pedestrialns, sidewalks, and I should think medians more so, are hardly protection from vehicles run amok. Medians would however probably have the tendency to slow traffic all along Grand, which would be safer overall. Would they take away parking the make way for the median? But what about the stretch between Henry and EBway by Amalgamated, where Grand narrows. Certainly they could't fit in a median there. Did that come up? I'm glad for you attention to this matter, Mr. Yanover.

11/12/2006 12:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So now the day this new lane thing begins we have honking horns from cars backed up at the light on fdr and grand street. They made the exit two lanes and now the line is so long cars get crazy when the light changes and start honking. Dumb to add bike lanes on grand. Some fixes yes, but ruin the exit? Come on? Where do I go to complain.?

11/26/2006 5:32 PM  

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