Transportation Alternatives Holds East Side Workshops

Beginning this week, the bicycling and pedestrian advocacy organization, Transportation Alternatives, is stepping up its campaign for safer streets on the East Side. Under the mantle of its East Side Streets Coalition, TA will be holding a series of community workshops to gather feedback and create solutions in the neighborhoods stretching from Chinatown to East Harlem. In conjunction with the workshops, they’ve released new information and maps detailing the most dangerous intersections in the city.

It will surprise no one that the intersection of Essex and Delancey is the most dangerous crossing in the neighborhood. Between 1998 and 2008, there were 119 accidents between vehicles and pedestrians/cyclists. We asked TA’s communications director, Wiley Norvell, to put that in some perspective. He said the organization’s CrashStat web tool (which has not yet been updated to include the new numbers) shows only two other intersections in the city with more accidents involving bicyclists. Just three other locations have more pedestrian accidents.

Transportation Alternatives believes the city’s streets are more than just “car corridors,” but “instead are valuable public spaces that must be well allocated and made safe for people traveling by every means… the goal of the coalition is to reduce pedestrian and cyclist injuries and fatalities from vehicle crashes by 50% over the next 10 years. The workshops will help develop an East Side Action Plan.

The plan aims to look at the big picture on the East Side, rather than focusing on a few key problem areas. But it’s clear people in this neighborhood are increasingly concerned about the dangers on Delancey, even though city officials have cited extenuating circumstances in at least one recent accident.

The Department of Transportation has not directly addressed the safety issues on Delancey. But they have created more bike routes on quieter streets, in an effort to divert bicyclists heading on and off the Williamsburg Bridge from the Delancey thoroughfare. Norvell said Transportation Alternatives continues to press for a protected bike lane on Delancey (hopefully along the median). He believes the new routes on Stanton, Rivington and Suffolk are a step in the right direction but TA wants to see the city address the safety issues on the Delancey corridor directly.

But we digress. The point of the upcoming workshops is to find out what residents think about all of the transportation safety issues in the neighborhood. Here’s some info about the meetings:

  • Tomorrow night – Chinatown Community Workshop, co-sponsored by Chinatown J.U.M.P. M.S. 131, 100 Hester Street, 6-8pm.
  • Wednesday night – East Village Community Workshop, co-sponsored with the East Village Community Coalition, LES People’s Mutual Housing Association, 228 East 3rd Street, 5th floor community room, 6-8pm.
  • Tuesday, May 11th – Lower East Side Community Workshop, Bluestockings Bookstore, 172 Allen, 6-8pm.

To RSVP or for more info, visit Transportation Alternatives’ web site.