In a recent letter to the city’s Department of Transportation (DOT), local elected officials praised the city’s commitment to “present finding of an ongoing study” of Lower East Side traffic gridlock at a May community board meeting. Turns out, DOT planners will not be appearing at next month’s meeting of Community Board 3’s transportation committee. They have told CB3 that the study of congestion around Clinton and Grand streets is not yet ready. It’s possible the meeting could occur in June, but it’s not a sure thing.
Meanwhile, CB3 and the Lower East Side Partnership will be moving forward with a public visioning session on transportation issues in the clogged blocks adjacent to the Williamsburg Bridge. It will take place May 16 at 6:30 p.m. in the cafeteria at Seward Park High School.
The planning meeting will be focused on the area between Delancey Street and Grand Street, which is seeing unprecedented real estate development. The big Essex Crossing project is, of course, having an enormous impact in the neighborhood. Also, the Gotham Organization is planning a large project on the site of the fire-ravaged Beth Hamedrash Hagadol synagogue. And the Grand Street Guild is looking to build two new 15-story towers. The visioning session is meant to inform a master plan that the LES Partnership will develop in collaboration with the community board and other local stakeholders.
DOT launched a traffic study in June of last year, but in December, city officials said the initial results were “inconclusive.” They have continued to look at potential solutions to the bottleneck leading to the Williamsburg Bridge. Elected officials have urged the city to implement a plan now, before the looming L Train shutdown, when gridlock near the bridge is sure to worsen.