Stuyvesant Town residents slam re-designed 20th Street

Community residents attend a meeting that ended up focusing on the state of the recently reconfigured 20th Street. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village residents are fed up with the changes to East 20th Street and demanded that the street be returned to its pre-L-shutdown state before the city begins work on the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project that will affect the roadway.

Tenants expressed their grievances about the state of the street at a recent meeting hosted by the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association. There, the Department of Design and Construction offered updates about the resiliency plan, which is intended to provide flood protection for the East Side in the event of another Hurricane Sandy.

Department of Design and Construction associate project manager Eric Ilijevich explained at the meeting that there is a structure that will likely be placed on East 20th Street near Avenue C that will help improve drainage during a flood event. Although this is not a new component to the plan, residents had concerns about the container due to the other changes that the street has undergone.

“Twentieth Street is being condemned by everything that you guys are planning,” Stuy Town resident Tom Nonnon said. “You need more community involvement.”

STPCV Tenants Association president Susan Steinberg reiterated the need for community input.

“These changes were foisted upon us and now we have another building that will take away even more parking,” she said, later adding that residents want East 20th Street to be returned to the way it was before work on this project begins.

“We’re working with you but you’re not working with the community on 20th Street,” added Peter Cooper Village resident Anne Greenberg.

“What would be the process for getting the bike lane removed?” another resident shouted out during the meeting, to laughter and applause from other residents.

Residents at the meeting (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

A project manager for the Department of Transportation noted that the bike lane acts as a corridor for the Stuyvesant Cove ferry, which will continue to run, despite changes to other transit options since the L train shutdown was canceled in favor of the governor’s alternative plan.

Ilijevich also confirmed at the meeting that funding for the flyover bridge located at the pinch point by the Con Edison facility has been approved, although he added that the bridge will actually be constructed at a later date, after the rest of the project is complete.

DDC Deputy Commissioner Andrew Hollweck said that the project is expected to reach the end of the design period by this fall and construction will likely start in early spring of next year. DDC expects to release the Environmental Impact Statement for the project by April and Hollweck said that the city agencies involved in the project have been meeting with Community Boards 6 and 3 every month to answer questions, in addition to meeting with other community stakeholders like the STPCV Tenants Association, park advocacy groups, NYCHA tenant associations and other organizations.

Correction: An earlier version of this article stated the DDC hosted the event.

6 thoughts on “Stuyvesant Town residents slam re-designed 20th Street

  1. This such a tempest in a teapot. The 20th Street re-configuration was a very minor change that improved safety conditions. And this is plenty of parking (yes, paid parking) underneath the FDR drive. If you can afford to keep a car in the city, you can afford to pay for parking. You grumps are really going to be angry when all the walkers and bikers come thru Stuy Town and PCV after the city takes away a sensible 20th Street corridor.

    • Very little to do with parking. Sorry, nice try painting the opposition as just a few cranks who want fee parking, but that’s not the case. Narrowing the roadway to just two lanes has caused all sorts of havoc. If you leave there you hear the horns all the time. And no one likes the bus stop islands in the middle of the road, and I dare say M23 riders vastly outnumber bicyclists.

      And, this was done not because there was any need (only 1 bike/car accident on record since 2012), but in anticipation of the Brooklyn ferry, which has been cancelled. It was plenty safe with the painted bike lanes, and should be restored.

    • Cyclist like you always demonize car owners. YOU need to responsible for you own safety as well. There are so many cyclist who run red lights, ride in the wrong direction or on the sidewalk with no care to the pedestrians. A bike has brakes and steering so use them, slow down. Instead of yelling to everyone to get out of YOUR way.

  2. The change on 20th street is anything but minor. In one fell swoop this design has destroyed our idyllic neighborhood. Before there was quiet, now honking horns literally wake us up 24/7. Crossing 20th Street has become a high risk activity. Emergency vehicles have a difficult time getting to and from the FDR, losing precious time in traffic. 20th Street residents have no way to unload their belongings from cars. Taxis have nowhere to stop. Commuters waiting for buses were previously protected by the trees and the sidewalk at the side of the road, the elderly now stand on scary bus islands completely exposed in the middle of heavy traffic. This new ever-present line of standing running cars pollutes our air.

    CB6 was not given adequate time to consider these 20th street changes which were lumped together with other emergency L-pocyalypse plans as they were presented to the community board and were approved as a group. Local residents were certainly not involved in this decision. Keith Powers was not informed before these changes took place and has been powerless to reverse them.

    I have only seen one bicyclist using the new path ever. Most delivery people continue to effectively and safely use the service road on the south side of 20th street.

    Steve, this community deserves better than your snide condescension. Every one of my neighbors is very upset about these changes and none knew about the community meeting cited in this article. There is broad agreement among people who actually live here that this design has hurt our quality of life in multiple significant ways.

    These changes are being pushed forward across the city by a very vocal and well funded bicycle minority with a lot of extra time on their hands. But unfortunately bicycles do not serve the transportation needs of the majority of new yorkers. We truly understand the joy of riding with the wind in your hair, evading traffic and getting to your destination in record time while simultaneously getting exercise. And we understand why the wealthy riding in cars would like to get other drivers off their roads and onto bicycles. Unfortunately, the very real risks to young healthy bicyclists of biking in this town have not been fully disclosed to young people, and as long as F=MA bicyclists will be suffering life ending and life changing disability as a result of using this method of transportation in Manhattan.

    • Well said, but for your last assertion. DOT states there are 450,000+ bike trips a day in NYC. About 15 or so die on any given year. So your odds of surviving your next bike ride is over 10 million to one. Think you could take 10 million car trips and come out unscathed?

      The need for these “safety improvements” is vastly overblown. It’s really more about “comfort” than safety.

  3. Pingback: City holds open house on East Side Coastal Resiliency | Town & Village

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