Thursday’s Headlines: One Sure Way to Tame Traffic Edition

We're going to need more than just crossing guards to keep our city safe from car drivers. Photo: Soho Broadway Initiative
We're going to need more than just crossing guards to keep our city safe from car drivers. Photo: Soho Broadway Initiative

It was sort of funny to see a press release yesterday from the SoHo Broadway Initiative, a business improvement district, cheering itself for hiring “certified Pedestrian Traffic Managers” to move car traffic through “the congested intersection of Broome Street and Broadway, aiming to keep the intersection clear and reduce localized horn honking.”

It’s a worthy effort. And certainly not the first time that a local group has sought to bring in non-cop outsiders to clear the gridlock so pedestrians and cyclists can get around — and neighborhoods can be a tad more livable.

The Times has written often about similar — and equally useless — efforts to unclog the carmageddon around the Holland Tunnel — itself an effort that grew out of decades (no, literally decades and decades) of complaints about the congestion on Tribeca approach streets.

Yet whenever you read old stories about traffic jams at these intersections, you read the same complaints: Oh, the tolls need to be two-way. Oh, the feds should build another tunnel. Oh, Canal Street should be widened. But, like the weather, everyone complains, but no one ever solves the problem: there are too many cars because we allow too many cars to overwhelm our communities. Triple the toll. Eliminate free parking. Ban out-of-state, eastbound cars during the morning rush hour. Build a new tunnel — exclusively for transit. Now those are strategies that would obviate the need for “certified Pedestrian Traffic Managers” to keep people safe from New Jersey clowns in their Range Rovers.

Gotta jump off the soapbox and give you the other news:

  • Our old man editor acquitted himself pretty darn well on NY1 on Wednesday morning as he discussed — or lectured on — congestion pricing. But really, he just stuck to our talking points from yesterday’s headlines!
  • Speaking of which, Governor-in-waiting Kathy Hochul met the city press corps at a school in Queens on Wednesday, and even took a question from our own Dave Colon, who asked her about congestion pricing (which Hochul had told the Times earlier in the week that she might seek to delay). “There are certain legislative legal requirements in place that have to be followed,” she said. “I have supported congestion pricing. But in terms of the timing, I have to follow what’s in place right now. But it’s very much on my mind.” She did say she would also meet with MTA executives to determine how long they can go without the billions of dollars in revenue congestion pricing is expected to generate, Politico reported.
  • A 70-year-old Queens woman who was run over by a Ford F-150 assault truck driver who was backing up last month died on Wednesday, but cops didn’t even bother to charge the reckless driver with failure to exercise due care. (WCBS 880)
  • Brooklyn development firm Two Trees is seeking to reduce — by half! — the number of parking spaces that the city’s antiquated zoning law would force the company to build at its new Williamsburg mega-project. (Brooklyn Paper)
  • A senior citizen was struck and critically injured by a livery cab driver on the Upper West Side. But the driver remained on the scene, so of course he was not charged. (NYDN)
  • Former federal transit man Larry Penner says New Jersey is working the refs in hopes of getting more federal money. (Mass Transit)
  • The Mermaid Parade, which had been delayed in hopes of returning, is officially off for this year. (NY Post, Gothamist, Brooklyn Paper)
  • And, finally, DOT, please just do better:



Does the Box Blocking Crackdown Ignore Crosswalk Violations?

Manhattan Community Board 2’s Ian Dutton sends along this shot of a motorist about to be ticketed for blocking the box on Broome Street at W. Broadway in SoHo. Yesterday, police and traffic agents stepped up enforcement of what is a normally ignored traffic regulation. However, writes Ian: Note that blocking the box only applies […]

Impromptu Shared Space Calms Soho Intersection

Reader Tim Koelle sends this report of a busted traffic signal gone terribly right at the intersection of West Broadway and Grand yesterday morning: I watched for an hour while cars, trucks and pedestrians shared this space quietly… with civility! Little honking, no aggressive driving, no traffic cop. Why? Because the light was out. No […]

CB 2 Committee Signs Off on Slate of SoHo Pedestrian Improvements

The transportation committee of Manhattan Community Board 2 this week unanimously recommended that DOT implement two projects that would bring a menu of pedestrian safety improvements to SoHo, including a number of intersections near the Holland Tunnel. At the intersection of Canal Street and Hudson Street, DOT plans to add median islands and bump-outs to […]

Eyes on the Street: How About a Slow Zone for Prince Street?

Brooklyn Spoke’s Doug Gordon tweeted this photo Wednesday morning. This crash happened at the intersection of Prince and Crosby in Soho, which gets a ton of foot traffic and sees some of the highest bike counts in the city. It’s only random chance that someone didn’t get hit. One change that would help regulate drivers’ […]

The Weekly Carnage

The Weekly Carnage is a Friday round-up of motor vehicle violence across the five boroughs. For more on the origins and purpose of this column, please read About the Weekly Carnage. Fatal Crashes (3 Killed This Week; 132 This Year; 10 Drivers Charged*) Howard Beach: Cyclist Gary Zammett Sr. Killed at Intersection Where Residents Say Drivers Run […]