Letters to the Editor, July 16

July16 Toon Iran gray

An accelerating problem on East 23rd Street

The following is an open letter to Council Member Dan Garodnick:

Dear Dan,

On the heels of a letter to you by a resident of Stuyvesant Town, Mr. Sanderson, which was published in the Town & Village, about unsafe conditions in the service lane, I would like to bring to your attention some very dangerous conditions a little bit north, on 23rd Street.

I have been a resident of Peter Cooper Village for many years. For a long time, 23rd Street was a quiet place. Not anymore. For the past few years, it has become a major access road to the FDR Drive. During the quieter times, before and after rush hours, 23rd Street from First Avenue down to the Drive, has a become a speedway for many cars and busses. If a device checking speed limits were to be set up, many vehicles would clock in at well over the 25 mile an hour speed limit, more like 40 to 50 miles per hour.

During rush hours when the traffic is bumper to bumper, horns blaring, many drivers have taken to the service lane as a way to avoid the backup of traffic. So, now, the service lane becomes the speedway. Many drivers go through the stop sign at First Avenue and 23rd Street, and the one at Asser Levy Place. At the end of the service lane is a sign and signal for a right turn only. Not for many of these drivers who care not what a sign says. There are many, many u-turns made all day, all evening.

If someone stops in the service lane, briefly, to wait for a parking spot, these speeders start honking, and sometimes screaming at the person who has every right to stop for a minute or two.

Another infraction is cars exiting the service lane at what is the entrance, and entering at the exit. It is a collision waiting to happen.

I was at the 13th Police Precinct’s community meeting last summer to discuss these issues. After listing all the above, the only comment was  “Oh yes, children go to school over there.”

I think they should have said we really need to keep the residents of the community safe, or people are always crossing to use the gym at Asser Levy Place, or anything in the way of grasping the seriousness of the reckless driving.

I am hoping that action will be taken here, so that we do not have a pedestrian hit by a vehicle, or a very serious accident on 23rd Street.

Sincerely,

J. Greene PCV

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Traffic safety improvements underway in Stuyvesant Town

Speed bumps are put into place near the daycare center. (Photo courtesy of Dan Garodnick)

Speed bumps are put into place near the daycare center. (Photo courtesy of Dan Garodnick)

By Sabina Mollot

Stuyvesant Town residents will soon see $100,000 worth of traffic and pedestrian safety improvements made to the neighborhood.

Funds for the project were allocated last week, as part of the city budget, at the request of Council Member Dan Garodnick.

What exact improvements are going to be made has not yet been determined with Garodnick saying he wanted to have the Department of Transportation make its own recommendations. The goal, however is to make the cityscape surrounding the property more child and senior-friendly with smoother curb cuts (the slopes from sidewalks to the street on corners) and other changes aimed at minimizing car and bike accidents.

Increasing crossing times at street lights is a possibility, as are changes to the service roads. Last month, a Town & Village reader asked Garodnick, via a letter to this newspaper, to make the service roads safer. This was after witnessing a pedestrian dart out into one to catch a bus, only to get hit by a car.

“Pedestrians treat the service road as a semi-sidewalk, while drivers drive at full speed,” observed the writer, Joseph Sanderson.

Garodnick said he’s been in touch with Sanderson. “We’re looking at the safety issue on the service road and that could be a part of this potentially,” he said.

He added that he’s also heard from residents that some curb cuts are difficult to manage by people using walkers or pushing strollers.

Meanwhile, other changes aimed at pedestrian safety are already afoot within Stuyvesant Town.

The Council member noted how the recent move of the onsite daycare center from East 14th Street to the old management office building on Avenue C has led to a higher concentration of kids on Avenue C near the southbound entrance to the FDR Drive. Due to concerns over their safety, CompassRock was asked to implement its own safety measures along the Avenue C Loop — and management agreed.

“They responded almost immediately, which we are very grateful for,” said Garodnick.

Improvements include putting two speedbumps along the C Loop, installing “Caution: Children at Play” signage and painting the street outside the center yellow to prevent double parking. The speed bumps were put into place on Tuesday morning, while the painting was already done last Thursday and earlier in the week, Garodnick said he spotted at least one sign.

The improvements inside Stuy Town are being paid for by CompassRock/CWCapital, not the city.