Co-op Manager: New Clinton Street Configuration Increases Pedestrian Danger

Clinton Street bike lane, between Grand Street and East Broadway.

Clinton Street bike lane, between Grand Street and East Broadway.
Clinton Street bike lane, between Grand Street and East Broadway.

Some people are concerned that the new traffic configuration on Clinton Street has made the stretch between East Broadway and Grand Street less safe. Recently, a two-way bike lane was created, narrowing the vehicle lanes. Frank Durant, general manager of the Seward Park Co-op, has sent a plea to local elected officials for help.

Those elected officials, including State Assemblyman Sheldon Silver, brought the issue of safety in this area to the attention of the city’s Department of Transportation (DOT) many months ago. As a result, the bike lanes were expanded and the automobile corridor was narrowed as a “traffic calming” strategy. But the DOT rejected a request for a mid-block crosswalk.

Here’s part of Durant’s email:

Unfortunately nothing has been done to date and the DOT has made major changes to this area by installing a double-wide two lane bike lane, which we do support, but has definitely made our safety situation worse. Since the change, all that traffic was squeezed into two lanes, there have been several small accidents and the one that most recently (reported by The Lo-Down and then) covered by channel 2,7,10 & 11 news where an ice cream truck rammed 6 cars and a motorcycle and then ran through our fences and two highly trafficked pedestrian walkways… The enforcement of double parking is not happening, cars running through lights and crossing over both lanes and driving in the bike lanes is happening when Clinton is packed going to the Bridge. Before someone is seriously hurt, I am asking for help on behalf of the entire community and the 5,000 residents (of the co-op). I would appreciate any help you can (provide)… to (help) make our community safe.

Durant was scheduled to walk the area with cops from the 7th Precinct this afternoon to discuss enforcement. Earlier this year, Transportation Department officials said their study of Clinton Street showed there isn’t enough pedestrian volume to justify a mid-block crosswalk. In April, Community Board 3 asked the DOT to provide the data used to come to that conclusion. The city did not respond. Now local leaders are trying to re-engage the DOT concerning pedestrian safety in the area.