Volume 21, Number 41 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | February 20 - 26, 2009

Transit Sam

By Sam Schwartz

Dear Transit Sam,
I was walking on Thomas St. between Broadway  and Church St., and I saw signs that read “No Standing except AWM.” What agency is AWM?
Peter, Tribeca

Dear Peter,
There is no agency with the initials AWM.  Some 25 years ago when I was traffic commissioner, a federal law enforcement agency official came to see me.   He asked that I not post the name of the law enforcement agency on parking signs for security purposes. I said, “What should the signs say?”  He replied, “Anything you like.”  I just made up the no-source acronym and left it to the public’s imagination to figure it out. 

A quarter century later, I’m surprised these signs have survived.  But, I’m telling no secrets out-of-school.  I went to Thomas St. for myself recently, and many of the cars parked there displayed F.B.I. and U.S. Attorney signs so the cat is totally out of the bag!
Transit Sam

Dear Transit Sam,
What’s going on with the construction project at the intersection of Broadway and E. Houston St.? There’s still a lot of traffic in the area and was wondering when work in the area would wrap up. What’s left to do?
Greg, Lower East Side

Dear Greg,
We’re almost there! This Department of Design and Construction project, which started in the summer of 2005, should finish up by the end of June, according to a department spokesman. New curbs and sidewalks still need to be installed along with additional pavement work and street lighting maintenance, among other things. If there are any delays or significant traffic impacts still to come, I’ll keep you posted.
Transit Sam 

Dear Transit Sam,
I’ve noticed signs in the past posted around Chinatown that say, “Don’t even THINK of parking here.” Can you get cited for parking in front of one of these signs? Can these signs be enforced?
Ted, Lower East Side

Dear Ted,
You’re looking at (or reading) the brains behind this sign. I created and installed these signs while I was traffic commissioner in 1982. These signs were placed on streets where parking was restricted all day long, seven days a week, by other regulatory signs. Mayor Koch loved the idea when I presented it to him. You wouldn’t receive a ticket for simply pondering about whether to park in front of the sign or even if you did park your car there. However, there should be other regulatory signs nearby and yes, those are fully enforceable!
Transit Sam

Sam Schwartz, a former first deputy commissioner of city transportation, is president and C.E.O. of Sam Schwartz Engineering, a traffic engineering consulting firm to private and public entities including the Port Authority at the World Trade Center site. Email your questions to TransitSam@DowntownExpress.com






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