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Community Visioning Planned to Address Traffic Tie-ups Around Essex Crossing

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For many months, local residents, elected officials and Community Board 3 have been pressuring the city to do something about the traffic bottleneck at Clinton Street and Grand Street. At a meeting of CB3’s transportation committee this week, District Manager Susan Stetzer said she expects officials from the Department of Transportation (DOT) to present their plans in May. At the same meeting, the committee agreed that CB3 should take part in a broader planning process to deal with traffic congestion in the area.

The problems at Grand and Clinton streets are well documented. The community board expects DOT’s proposal to be narrowly focused on this intersection. There’s a bigger picture, however. By the summer, the first four buildings in the big Essex Crossing development project will open, adding many new residents and retail businesses in the immediate area. At Tuesday evening’s meeting, Tim Laughlin, president of the Lower East Side Partnership, suggested a community visioning process to address all of the traffic concerns.

The visioning would be a collaboration between the Partnership and Community Board 3. It would take into account the impact of Essex Crossing in the blocks between Essex Street and Clinton Street. It would also consider the potential impacts of two proposed projects in the same area: two new towers from the Grand Street Guild and a new residential complex on the former site of the Beth Hamedrash Hagadol Synagogue.

The committee voted in favor of participating in the visioning exercise. No date has been set as of yet. Reps from Delancey Street Associates, developers of Essex Crossing, have been meeting routinely with city agencies about traffic management. We’re told they would be willing to participate in the partnership-CB3 visioning.

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