Traffic moves with some problems through Broadway construction snarl

An ambulance was slowed getting through Broadway construction last week on Aug. 15. Downtown Express photo by Yoon Seo Nam

An ambulance was slowed getting through Broadway construction last week on Aug. 15. Downtown Express photo by Yoon Seo Nam

BY KAITLYN MEADE  | Traffic was flowing slowly but surprisingly surely last Thursday during hour, despite traffic barriers that closed all but one of the southbound lanes near Wall St. The bottleneck at Liberty St. slowed traffic as cars funneled into the left lane to avoid Phase 1 of the city Dept. of Design and Construction’s Broadway Reconstruction Project.

On August 15, the chaos of taxis, tour buses and pedestrian traffic had taken over Broadway between Rector and Liberty Sts., where construction began the first week of August.

An ambulance with flashing sirens was stuck in stop-and-go traffic for those blocks as cars could not pull over to get out of its way. One aggressive driver stopped abruptly to avoid hitting a fruit vendor crossing the street.

However, pedestrians and employees of area businesses noted that the construction did not have an impact on their day-to-day activities. Several pedestrians went over to ask directions of “traffic enforcement agents” stationed at the intersections.

“It’s running smoothly, everyone is getting by,” said Takeisha Walker, at the intersection of Broadway and Pine St., who was directing traffic on one side and keeping an eye out for tractors moving back and forth on the other.

“My company keeps [drivers] motivated,” she said. Walker is an employee of MFM Contracting Corp., which has been employed to maintain traffic flow on Broadway’s remaining lane. She said that the activity was fairly normal for the time of day.

Coordinating vehicles with the massive pedestrian presence is not so easy, said her colleague Latoya Lewis, stationed at Wall St. Lewis, who was on duty that day from 7 a.m. To 7 p.m., pointed out all the ways that single lane could be obstructed.

“It’s busy all day because of the train station right there. You’ve got the Stock Exchange, the [Wall St.] Bull is down here – there’s a lot of action. And yellow cabs are good for stopping, slowing traffic down. And the tour buses slow down to show people the Stock Exchange and take pictures of the [Trinity Wall Street] church,” Lewis said. “If we weren’t here, traffic would be really jammed.”

Deliveries in the area are far more difficult, according to workers trying to finish construction on the interior of the TD Ameritrade at 100 Broadway.

“It’s costing us a lot of money,” said John Patrick Maloney, of A.C.C. Construction, the job manager of the site. Maloney said construction was due to be finished by mid-September but until then, he has to get permits for deliveries at odd hours with less traffic.

“We got no forward notice, zero… I was here on Saturday working, and when I came back Monday, [the barriers] suddenly appeared,” he said.

This first two sections of the $42 million capital street reconstruction plan will take until July 2014 to complete, according to a presentation by the Dept. of Design and Construction.

Phase 1 of Broadway, from Rector to Ann Sts. will take about two years to complete. The project is aimed at replacing the aging infrastructure such as water mains, sewers, and gas, steam and electric utilities.

The city is encouraging community members with questions or complaints to contact the construction community liaison Liz Baptiste at broadwayphase1ccl@gmail.com or call 212-791-6540.

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Street repairs have closed parts of Broadway down to one lane. Downtown Express photo by Yoon Seo Nam.

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9 Responses to Traffic moves with some problems through Broadway construction snarl

  1. If you want progress then sometimes you have to suffer a bit.

  2. …and the suffering really isn't all that bad :)

  3. Not until you have to deal with it every day :)

  4. Hustle, everyday.. if otherwise then you will starve to death.

  5. Repairs are not doing the same. Unfortunately, we often have to suffer all be able to enjoy the new streets …

  6. How about the renovation and modernization in countries with a high rate of economic growth? There just happens. We do not have anything to complain about.

  7. There is nothing to complain about. Construction and renovation is a natural thing.

  8. So they're halfway through the construction. I wonder if the congestion is the same. Some updated pictures would be nice. If you work in construction the congestion is par for the course, as they say.

  9. It does not look the best, but that is the way of things.

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