Since its founding last fall, Friends of Corlears Hook Park has been busy bringing attention to a public space that suffered from neglect. One big priority for Michael Marino, the organization’s leader, was improving pedestrian safety around the park. Thanks to his efforts and the support of Community Board 3 and local elected officials, the city’s Department of Transportation has agreed to take a look at safety improvements on Cherry Street, alongside the park.
On Tuesday evening, CB3 approved a resolution asking the DOT to tour Corlears Hook and to study the possible installation of a mid-block crosswalk on Cherry Street and/or speed bumps. Park advocates say cars coming from FDR Drive often travel at a high rate of speed on Cherry, endangering people trying to cross the street. They have also indicated that some drivers park on the corner near FDR Drive, obscuring sight-lines and causing problems for city buses.
Following the community board vote, State Sen. Daniel Squadron, along with other local elected officials sent a letter to the DOT in support of “traffic calming measures” in the vicinity. “These intersections are surrounded by large housing developments, parks and playgrounds, schools, and community organizations,” they wrote. “As you may know, we believe it is important to take into account the concerns of the local community board when it speaks so strongly.”
In a letter dated yesterday, DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg told CB3 that her agency would examine whether “traffic conditions” in the area “meet federally mandated guidelines for installation of a traffic signal at the intersection of Cherry Street and FDR Drive.” She said the Transportation Department would also look at whether parking spaces could be removed and whether a crosswalk is feasible. The DOT rejected the request for speed bumps since the street is a bus route.