By Sabina Mollot
This week, numerous readers reached out to Town & Village, asking about all the work currently going on at East 20th Street, east of First Avenue.
As we reported last month, the Department of Transportation was in the early stages of a traffic safety enhancement project on East 20th Street along the route to the ferry. The project also unfortunately included the removal of 12 parking spots.
Work, however, began in earnest last weekend, with bike lanes being built on the north side of the street adjacent to bus boarding islands.
Council Member Keith Powers said his office has also received many calls, including some complaints, from residents, mainly over the loss of parking at a time when East 14th Street has also lost dozens of spaces due to the L train related construction work. In response, Powers said he’s asked DOT officials to walk along the street with him.
“We want to find ways to put parking back in,” he said. Powers added, “Part of the reason they’re doing this is to make it cleaner and clearer while the L train closes down about where people should be going, but I understand why people are concerned with the changes.”
Powers said he is also personally concerned about people having to walk through the bike lanes to get to the bus, and has brought this up to the DOT already.
The work is intentionally being done ahead of the L shutdown beginning at the end of April, so there will be time to make changes to the streetscape, should they prove necessary, Powers said. He also asked that anyone with concerns about the new street design call his office at (212) 818-0580.
As a reminder, details of the project include:
- Bike lanes will be turned into a two-way parking protected bike lane along the north curb.
- Two bus boarding islands for M23 and M9 stops will be installed and the M23 stop on First Avenue will be moved 145 feet to the east.
- A curb extension and a pedestrian island will be constructed at Avenue C and 20th Street to shorten crossing distances.
- Pedestrian ramps at Avenue C and 18th Street will be upgraded.
- Signal timing at First Avenue and 20th Street will be updated.