If you live near the intersection of Clinton and Grand streets, it’s impossible to forget that it’s is a dangerous and unpleasant area for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists. Local residents want to make sure that officials at the city’s Department of Transportation don’t forget it, either.
Community activists last month sent a letter and petition with more than 1,000 signatures to DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. It urged the city to make changes on Clinton Street, where traffic leading onto the Williamsburg Bridge has grown significantly in recent years.
After hearing from Community Board 3 and local elected officials earlier this year, the DOT began a traffic study to evaluate safety concerns and to determine how to alleviate the traffic bottleneck. Cars are routinely backed up on Grand Street for several blocks and on Clinton Street below East Broadway. Drivers lean on their horns out of frustration, disturbing people who live in the area late into the night.
The other day we heard from Matt Marello, who’s helped lead the campaign for change on Clinton Street, along with Doron Stember, board president of the Seward Park cooperative. On Aug. 23, they tell us, DOT responded to the letter, indicating that the study is ongoing and that it should be completed sometime during the fall. Marello said Daisy Paez, a new district leader who lives in the Grand Street Guild apartments, led the effort to collect petition signatures. He also noted that Karen Blatt, former Lower East Side district leader, worked with the 7th Precinct to install an electronic sign on Grand Street that reads, “Please No Honking” and “Watch For Cyclists.” Advocacy efforts, and a direct plea to the mayor from Grand Street Dems member Tommy Loeb, led the city to place traffic agents at the intersection.
In the letter, Stember, Marello and Paez wrote, “…we implore the DOT to find a viable alternative to the current Clinton Street entrance to the Williamsburg Bridge. (Grand and Clinton streets) have, in essence, become de facto ‘on ramps’… from FDR Drive… We trust that the DOT will take (our) concerns into consideration and will propose a resolution that improves safety and quality of life in our community.”
Here’s the full letter sent along with the petition: