City says no go on Beekman stop
More than 150 people have signed on to a petition demanding a stop sign on a busy Seaport street, but the city has no plans to install one.
The leader of the cause is Jim Wintner, who lives near the intersection of Beekman and Front Sts. Cars on Front approaching Beekman have a stop sign, but cars on Beekman can barrel straight through the intersection on their way from South St. up toward Pearl St., making it difficult for pedestrians to cross, Wintner said.
Tourists, local families and office workers frequently cross Beekman at Front, moving between South Street Seaport and the restored historic buildings to the north. But the trucks and taxis that speed up Beekman St. see mostly loading docks and double-parked cars, so they don’t expect people to be crossing, Wintner said.
“I feel like cars are being given priority over pedestrians in an area where that is not appropriate,” Wintner said. He added, “I don’t know if that is appropriate anywhere, actually.”
The city Dept. of Transportation analyzed the intersection at Wintner’s request and found no need for a stop sign on Beekman St., according to a letter the D.O.T. sent Wintner earlier this year. Instead, the D.O.T. plans to add “Stop Ahead” signs on Front St., which Wintner said does not address the problem at all.
Tribeca residents have been fighting a similar battle for years, without success. They are trying to get a stop sign at the intersection of Greenwich and Duane Sts. since many parents with strollers cross there to enter Washington Market Park. But the D.O.T. has repeatedly said the city needs a track record of preventable accidents in order to add a stop sign.
Wintner, imagining that justification applied to the Beekman and Front intersection, called it “sick.”
“It’s obvious that we would have [a stop sign] there,” said Sara Williams, co-owner of Fresh Salt, a cafe on Beekman St. near the intersection. “They fly down this street. It’s scary.”
Williams often has her 9-month-old son in tow when crossing. She said she has seen some close calls, especially at night.
Another stop sign supporter is Jose Rodriguez, co-owner of Salud, the restaurant at the corner of Beekman and Front. Tourists and the neighborhood’s growing population of young children often wander into the street without paying attention, Rodriguez said. At the very least, he thinks the city should install a speed bump to warn cars to slow down.
Rodriguez also sees the intersection from a driver’s perspective. When he approaches it in a car, not seeing a stop sign, “You just keep driving,” he said.
— Julie Shapiro