NYC DOT Launches “Shared Streets” Festivities in Lower Manhattan

This Saturday, NYC’s Department of Transportation launches its first “Shared Streets” community initiative in Lower Manhattan. From 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., cyclists, pedestrians and motorists will share the streets in the Seaport and Financial district (motorists are encouraged to drive 5 mph) and will have the opportunity to explore Lower Manhattan’s history, architecture and arts.

There’s an outlined map of activities planned throughout the day and a “Creative Insider’s Guide to Lower Manhattan” from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. Among the activities are drill and period performances by The Fife & Drums of the Old Barracks, a NYC History Trivia Quiz Game, a pop-up drawing studio courtesy of Uni DRAW and self-guided activities by the Skyscraper museum, tandem bike riding, sailing and so much more. Special offers from local area museums and businesses are also available.

For more info on Shared Streets and a full list of events that day, click here.


Fatality Renews Call for LES Pedestrian Protection

The intersection at Delancey and Essex streets is growing in notoriety for pedestrian deaths.

The May 10 accident in which a garbage truck killed a female pedestrian on Delancey Street near Essex has re-ignited the push for pedestrian protection measures near that intersection.

Yesterday, the advocacy group Transportation Alternatives engaged the help of Councilwoman Margaret Chin and state Sen. Daniel Squadron in calling on DOT to fix the dangerous crossing, which was also the site of an April 12, 2010 fatality. Just two weeks later, community activist Harry Weider was killed crossing Essex Street just a block north.

City Officials Hear Residents Vent About Transportation Concerns

Lower East Side residents, undeterred by the continuing downpour, filed into P.S. 134 tonight to tell city transportation officials just how unhappy they are with several recent decisions impacting streets in the neighborhood. The forum was a town hall meeting organized by City Councilman Alan Gerson.

City Transportation Commissioner Luis Sanchez and Gerry Bogacz of the New York Metro Transportation Council mostly listened quietly as people in the community sounded off on the "arrogance" of installing center islands and bike lanes on Grand Street, the unresponsiveness of the city to problems with street signs along Rutgers Street, the behavior of bicyclists and several other issues.

Councilman Gerson said there's a widespread belief among his constituents that their concerns fall on deaf ears. He called on greater accountability and stepped up efforts to involve the community in the decision making process. One resident blasted Mayor Bloomberg for the changes on Grand Street, saying they are "a disgrace to this community."

Tomorrow we'll have much more on the issues addressed at the town hall, street by street. We'll also hit the streets ourselves with video camera in hand to illustrate some of the tensions and problems that were on display tonight. A consistent theme throughout the town hall: bicyclists are a menace in the neighborhood — ignoring traffic laws, going the wrong way in bike lanes, riding on sidewalks. We'll also have more on that, including the response from cycling activists (it's bike month, afterall).