Getting Around

There’s a new traffic pattern in effect for Chambers St. that could throw drivers for a loop.

Just this past Monday, Chambers St. between Church and Greenwich Sts. was converted from two-way traffic to one-way westbound for the next 18 months as the city begins the second phase in upgrading the water main that runs beneath the road. During the first phase of construction, Chambers had been one-way westbound between Greenwich and West Sts. For the second phase, drivers on West St. will be able to turn onto Chambers St. However, eastbound traffic will be diverted onto southbound Greenwich St. and eastbound Warren St. Drivers will be able to turn back onto Chambers by making a left from Warren St. onto Church St.

This comes at a bad time for Lower Manhattan traffic with heavy crowds still descending on the National Sept. 11 Memorial and nearby security checkpoints at the Holland Tunnel and Broadway narrowing traffic to just one lane.

From the mailbag:

Dear Transit Sam,
Last week, I received a ticket for talking on my cell phone. First, let me just say I was not on my cell phone. Apparently, the officer assumed I was since I had my left arm on the window and my hand on my head while waiting to make a left turn. I’m 57 years old and I have a pre-paid cell phone for emergency use only. I asked the officer to check my phone to see when it was last used and he refused. Do I have any recourse? I just found out this is three points on my license and my insurance rates will go up. Plus, this ticket is $130. I don’t even know how to text!
Katherine, Lower Manhattan

Dear Katherine,
The NYPD has been cracking down on cell phone violations big time, especially in light of new laws that created stiffer penalties for such infractions. But based on what you tell me, I think this went too far. I think you should plead not guilty. You’ll have to appear in person at the hearing, but here’s what you should do:

The officer, under sworn testimony, will likely be asked whether or not he saw you physically holding the phone. Undoubtedly, he will say he did see you hold the phone to your ear.   You need to challenge that with the truth.   Explain in detail what you were doing at the time. The more specifics you offer, the more credible you sound. Describe where you were, was there a car in front of you, note the car’s make and color, was there lots of traffic in the opposite direction… See if you can log in to your pre-paid account to view a list of your most recent calls. Since you use your phone so infrequently, the list of your incoming and outgoing calls should show that a call wasn’t made or received around the time you were pulled over. This should help you get a dismissal. And in a best-case scenario, if the officer fails to show up, the ticket will get thrown out and you win!
Transit Sam

Confused about ever changing traffic regulations and transit operations? Need help navigating around lower Manhattan? If so, send me an e-mail at TransitSam@downtownexpress.com or write to Transit Sam, 611 Broadway, Suite 415, New York, NY 10012

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