Followup: Copper Wire Theft Could Have Sparked Fire in Delancey Street Train Station

More this morning on yesterday’s fire and resulting evacuation of three subway lines on Delancey Street, from Essex to the Bowery. WNBC reported on its late news broadcast last night that the fire could have been caused when someone tried to steal copper wires. More details from Brian Thompson’s story:

Sources told NBC 4 New York Friday night that the fire could have been sparked when a cable fell across the third rail and a track rail as someone tried to steal an underground copper wire. The spark of electricity along the rail caused the fire and smoke condition. Another source told NBC 4 New York that investigators think the suspected copper wire theft may be part of a larger operation, and the source said tools used for cutting were found in a closet-sized enclosure in the tunnel. The source says it appears the theft has been going on for months, and in all, as many as two thousand feet of cable appear to be missing from the station.

The incident shut down the J, M and Z lines from about 2:50 p.m. through the evening rush. Around 500 people were evacuated. No one was injured.

Photos: Smoke Prompts Subway Evacuation on Delancey Street

Delancey and Essex streets.

We’re back from the scene of today’s subway evacuations along Delancey Street. Multiple trains were shut down just as the Friday afternoon rush home was beginning.  No injuries to report, but there is a huge Fire Department and police presence from Essex Street to the Bowery.  J,M.Z, D and B service have all been suspended.

More details from the Post: About 500 people were evacuated beginning at around 2:52 p.m.  One resident said smoke from a fire on the tracks began to enter a subway car in a tunnel between Essex and Bowery.  People were stuck for about 20 minutes until the train was rolled back towards Essex Street and passengers could be let off.  The Post reported a second group of passengers was evacuated from a train that had just arrived at Essex Street from Brooklyn.  Officials said the fire appeared to have caused by MTA electrical equipment but they are still investigating exactly what went wrong.

Update 5:16 p.m. Notify NYC reports: Due to ongoing Fire Department activity, downtown M train service is terminating at 2 Avenue, Manhattan. The J and Z trains are also suspended in both directions between Marcy Ave, Brooklyn and Broad St, Manhattan. Expect extensive delays and visit for updates.

Click through to see more photos.

Innovate Manhattan Charter Opens New Home on the Lower East Side

Innovate Manhattan Charter School has a new facility, located on the third floor of a residential and commerical building on Forsyth and Delancey streets.

The new school year is upon us, a fact some youngsters acknowledge only with total dread. But the middle schoolers at Innovate Manhattan Charter School, the Lower East Side’s third and newest charter school, have a lot to look forward to when classes start tomorrow.

On August 23rd, Innovate opened the doors of its brand new facility at 38 Delancey Street, in an open house for students and their families. The pristine space, located on the third floor of a residential and commercial building, embodies the tenets of the Kunskapsskolan Educational model (KED), which was developed in Sweden and is currently used in 34 Swedish schools. Innovate Manhattan is the first American school to adopt the model, which emphasizes individual instruction and flexibility to help students take charge of their own learning.

7-Eleven Moving Closer to Opening on Delancey Street

Progress at the site of a planned 7-Eleven on Delancey Street.

While controversy about the arrival of chain stores on the Lower East Side continues, 7-Eleven is forging ahead with its new location at 142 Delancey Street, directly next to an existing Dunkin’ Donuts. The store’s renovation seems to be progressing, and some signage bearing the chain’s logo recently appeared in the windows.

Road Remains: Adjusting to the New Delancey Street

Delancey Street, north side, at Clinton Street.

It looks like drivers are having a little trouble adjusting to the new configuration on Delancey Street. Several days ago, the Department of Transportation established new pedestrian “plazas” on the dangerous roadway by setting up plastic pylons on either side of the street. As you can see, those pylons are really taking a beating.


A New Day on Delancey

Delancey Street at Clinton.

As we’ve been reporting, the Department of Transportation is in the process of implementing its Delancey Street safety plan.  At Clinton Street, two new pedestrian plazas (on either side of Delancey) are now marked off.  The DOT decided to add eight seconds to the “walk” signal at Clinton. In the weeks ahead, the new plazas will be receiving some TLC. The LES Business Improvement District has agreed to spruce up the new pedestrian refuges with plantings and other cosmetic additions.

CB3 Panel Recommends Delancey Co-Naming in Memory of Dashane Santana

Dashane Santana.

At its meeting last night, Community Board 3’s transportation committee recommended that a stretch of Delancey Street be co-named for Dashane Santana, a 12 year old girl who died in a fatal car accident near Delancey and Clinton streets last January.  Santana’s grandmother, Teresa Pedroza, presented more than 300 signed petitions in support of the measure, which she hopes will honor her granddaughter’s memory and further raise awareness about traffic patterns that endanger pedestrians.

This was Pedroza’s second visit to the committee; at a meeting in May, she presented approximately 150 copies of her petition, signed by friends, supporters, and local residents. While committee members sympathized with their cause, they urged Pedroza to collect more signatures from residents in the area immediately surrounding the site of the accident.

According to committee chair David Crane, co-naming has happened so often on the LES in recent years that board members have established a loose standard to insure that residents on a street that may be co-named are happy with the proposed change. In this case, the committee suggested that Pedroza collect 300 signatures from people living in the immediate area to demonstrate support for the co-naming. “Rather than us saying no to a petition,” said Crane, “we said let’s have the community tell us what they want.”

City Crews Begin Work on Delancey Street Safety Improvements

The city was supposed to begin making safety improvements to Delancey Street about a week ago, but delayed the project due to wet weather.  There hasn’t been much of  a break from the rain, but this afternoon street crews appeared to be on the job — making minor modifications to the roadway.

The plan is to create pedestrian plazas, narrowing the distance people must cross, and to redirect traffic in some spots.  The improvements entail repainting and the installation of pylons, so the work should not take too long. If you would like to see details –  block by block – have a look at the DOT’s presentation to Community Board 3 earlier this year.


Wet Weather Delays Delancey Street Safety Improvements

DOT rendering.

Yesterday we noted that the city would begin work next week to to make Delancey Street safer for pedestrians and cyclists.   We received an email from the Department of Transportation last night indicating that the project will be somewhat delayed due to the recent wet weather.

A DOT spokesperson indicated the work will “begin shortly” and is still scheduled to be completed by the last week of July. Most of the changes do not require significant construction; they involve shortening crosswalks, changing traffic regulations and (in the case of Clinton Street) removing barriers.


Delancey Street Safety Project Begins Next Week

Delancey Street, eastbound leading onto the Williamsburg Bridge.

The city’s Department of Transportation will begin making safety changes on Delancey Street beginning next week.  Two months ago, Community Board 3 approved a plan, which narrows the roadway in key spots, alters some traffic patterns and lengthens the Clinton Street walk signal by eight seconds.

The alterations are not expected to take long since no real construction is required. Many of the changes simply involve repainting lanes and setting up pylons to keep cars out of newly created pedestrian plazas. The Lower East Side BID is working with the city to beautify some of the plazas (including at the key intersection of Clinton and Delancey streets).

If you would like to review the city’s plan, have a look at our previous coverage.

See an update to this story here.

Teenage Girl Attacked on Delancey Street, Fights Back

Search dogs were brought to the crime scene, on Forsyth Street, near Rivington.

Search dogs were brought in yesterday to track down a suspect who fled after attacking a young woman on Delancey Street.   It happened around 4 p.m. as a 17-year old girl was walking along Delancey.  According to police, the suspect took her to the back of a building and ripped her jacket off. The Daily News reports the victim kicked the man in the crotch and then escaped.

For a short time yesterday afternoon, police were inside Pacific Aquarium and Pet Store at 46 Delancey.  But the investigation was centered near the intersection of Forsyth and Rivington streets.  A K-9 team went inside 174 Forsyth, a building for hearing impaired residents across from Sara D. Roosevelt Park.  This morning the search continues for the suspect.  See more photos after the jump.

Follow-up: Drowsy Truck Driver Smashes Parked Cars

Photos by Erin Egan Rodriguez.

More now on the accident on Delancey Street this morning in which a sanitation truck badly damaged between six and eight parked cars.  We’re told authorities do not believe the driver was intoxicated. Instead, they say, it appears he fell asleep in the moments before ramming into the cars early this morning.  The driver stayed on the scene until police arrived. As you can see from these photos (sent in by TLD contributor Erin Egan Rodriguez) the truck’s right-rear tire was wrecked during the ordeal.  The parked cars, however, got the raw end of the deal.

Monday Mash-up: Garbage Truck Takes Out Six Cars on Delancey Street

Delancey Street, east of Willet Street. Photo by

Thanks to TLD contributor Erin Egan Rodriguez, who alerted us to this scene on Delancey Street this morning.  A sanitation truck smashed into about a half dozen cars that were parked along Delancey, causing a whole lot of damage.  There was no sign of the driver; the truck, owned by Imperial Sanitation Corp., out of Astoria, is about to be towed away.

The owners of some of the cars are gathered on the street, just east of Bialystoker Place/Willet Street, shaking their heads in disbelief.  We have calls into the Police Department and the sanitation company for more information. In the meantime have a look at these photos.

Community Board 3 Approves Delancey Street Safety Plan

Slide from DOT presentation depicting new pedestrian plaza on Delancey Street.

Last night Community Board 3 approved a Department of Transportation (DOT) plan to improve pedestrian safety along Delancey Street. The city intends to implement the changes along the dangerous roadway by early summer.

Among other improvements, it will lead to the reopening of Clinton Street at Delancey, the creation of pedestrian plazas to narrow street width and a left-turn ban for automobiles heading south on Essex Street to Delancey and the Williamsburg Bridge. After consultations with CB3, the city also agreed to lengthen the time allotted for pedestrians to cross at Clinton Street by eight seconds and to ban right-hand turns from westbound Grand Street onto Clinton.

The changes came in the aftermath of several fatal pedestrian and bicycle accidents on Delancey Street in the last couple of years. In January, 12-year old Dashane Santana was struck and killed at the intersection of Delancey and Clinton streets.

For more details about the Delancey Street safety plan see our previous coverage here and here.

CB3 Resumes Debate On Delancey Street Safety Plan Tonight

Proposed Delancey Street reconfiguration. Image: DOT rendering.

Tonight Community Board 3’s Transportation Committee will resume its discussion regarding safety improvements along Delancey Street. Last month,  the Department of Transportation proposed several changes to address community concerns in the aftermath of numerous pedestrian accidents. These changes include narrowing Delancey by creating pedestrian plazas, changing some traffic patterns and re-opening Clinton Street at Delancey. The DOT is hoping CB3 will sign off on the plan this evening, so that the improvements can be implemented by early summer.

The plan was generally well received, but community board members did have a few concerns that will likely be raised again tonight.  Among the potential sticking points: new rules that would ban cars from turning left from southbound Essex Street on to Delancey and require cars heading west on the Delancey Street service road to turn right on to Clinton (right now they have the option of going straight).  In the past, prople who live on Clinton have complained that cars and trucks use the street as a passageway through the neighborhood, creating a lot of noise and pollution.