Volume 19 • Issue 6 | June 30 - July 6, 2006

Letters to the editor

State of park affairs

To The Editor: 
As seasoned observers of Government calls for participation of residents in the rebuilding process (news article, June 23 –29, “West St. park plans move north With Art Commission stalemate”), we need to remain very skeptical.

For example, the Battery Park City Route 9A memorial promenade slated for 26 months of construction starting late next winter under the direction of the State D.O.T.’s Richard Schmalz was planned with years of residential participation which was, for the most part, ignored.

The state plan began its plan with a costly tunnel under West St., which many residents openly opposed for years. The state met with residents, but did the state actually listen to us or was the West St. tunnel stopped to entice tunnel opponent Goldman Sachs to lease state-controlled property?

The state planning team then met with residents as we called for active recreational areas on the memorial promenade. Small exercise stations were a compromise for residents who had hopes that the promenade would serve more than tourists by including ample space for active recreation. Now we hear that the small exercise stations will not be a part of this construction, as they were turned down by the city Art Commission.

The state planning team then called for residential participation in assigning uses to an already existing residential park between West Thames and Albany Sts. It was no surprise that residents requested that the uses be identical to what they are now. The net result will be that the state will close this park for many months to reconfigure it by reducing the size of our well-used park. What results is more space for their 9A memorial promenade, and less for residents.

As a resident, how would you answer C.B. 1’s Battery Park City Committee chairperson Linda Belfer when she straightforwardly asks, “Do you think there’s any possibility that they’re going to screw us in the end?”
Tom Goodkind
Truck shouldn’t stop here

To The Editor:
It would be easier to believe the state D.O.T.’s claims that their plans for South End Ave. will “not cause any major truck congestion in that area” if traffic management on South End were not already so abysmal (news article, June 16 –22, “Project will drive trucks into B.P.C.”). We are already suffering from the following lack of proper planning:

1. A southbound bus stop in front of Gateway that is not demarcated with a yellow curb, and with a bus stop sign that is hidden by trees. The bus stop is a parking spot for anyone running into the stores on the block or picking up a hot dog. I have never seen any of these vehicles ticketed. As a result the buses stop in the middle of the street, backing up traffic into the Gateway driveway, which then backs up traffic into the Liberty St. intersection, which added to the backup caused by the grocery store delivery trucks further down the block pretty much guarantees gridlock. Moving the hot dog guy to the other side of South End would be an immediate improvement.

2. Unabated tour bus traffic 24/7. There is no reason why these buses should be in Battery Park City — signs should prohibit tour buses between Thames and Liberty Sts. at all times.  They are driven erratically, most of them are lost, they try to make turns in the cul-de-sac cross streets which is horrendously dangerous, and they park on Albany St., where they seem to be immune from tickets.

3. Express (mostly X90) and commuter buses that use South End as a short cut. In the mornings express buses go north on South End, through all the other major congestion that already exists, in order to exit on Liberty St., and in the evening there are Academy, Coach, and other commuter buses going south. Using Battery Park City as a through route for any buses other than local city ones is insane, given the number of workers, residents and school children crossing the street at any given time. Sometimes there are several buses at once, barreling through at high speeds in order to avoid a few traffic lights on West Street. There is no reason for these buses to ever be on South End.

Any plans for changes in traffic flow on South End should be halted until there is a serious, constant enforcement policy for all of the violations that are already happening, and until someone figures out a better system for the traffic that is already there.
JoAnne Chernow


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