Volume 22, Number 16 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | August 28 - September 3, 2009

Downtown Express photos by Jefferson Siegel

Residents say crossing at Fulton, Gold and Ann Sts. has gotten more hazardous in recent weeks with the nearby construction.

Neighbors say Seaport crossings are not safe

By Helaina N. Hovitz

Looking both ways before you cross the street does not help much if you’re trying to cross Gold St.

Five-year-old Samara Glazer always pulls her mother Irene a little bit ahead of her when they walk out of their 77 Fulton St. building. Irene now holds on tighter when they get to the corner of Gold crossing over to Ann St.

“I try to hold her back, because the cars just zip around,” she said. “What they’re doing is disgusting. Nobody abides by the stop sign at Fulton St. and Gold St., either, and the way the fence and the blockades are set up, you’re right at the edge of the traffic by the time you get to the stop sign anyway. If you’re not looking, you’re dead.”

Downtown residents, workers, and tourists sometimes look shaken after they try to cross Gold St., either at Ann or at Fulton St. The new traffic pattern created by the DeLury Park construction has cars careening around turns. There is no traffic signal and residents say the stop sign is difficult to see.

Gold at Ann St. had been a two-way street, divided by the original DeLury Park, which has been torn up and is now under construction. Once this construction began, it was changed to a one-way street. In recent weeks it has once again been made two-way, and the way the construction blockades are arranged blocks views of the cars zipping along from Fulton St. toward Gold and Ann Sts. There is a part-time traffic agent near the intersection, but he sometimes stares at the ground and does not always notice people trying to cross the street.

The city Dept. of Transportation declined to comment.

Lucy D’Ippolito, 92, who’s lived at Southbridge Towers for 30 years, said she is scared of crossing the street by herself.

“When I had to go across the street to the hospital last week, I was shaking, I was already in bad shape, and those cars speed around that corner like crazy,” she said. “Sometimes I think it’s a miracle that I make it across. When I get across the street, I say, ‘Thank you God.’”

Technically one of the problem areas is no longer a crosswalk, but many Southbridge residents still cross there because it used to be an official crosswalk and it leads right into the complex.

Arthur Gregory, a City Council candidate who lives nearby, said “a lot of people on walkers and canes like me have a hard time….I’m younger though. When people cross the street, we have to put our hands up to act as traffic cops….

“The stop sign is in a position where it’s not where a normal stop sign would be, even I went through it the first couple of times…if you don’t spot it out of the corner of your eye, you don’t see it…you’re used to signs being where they are supposed to be.”

Erik Ayala, 28, who lives at 77 Fulton St. with his wife and their son Lucien, thinks a blinking light would be a better option than a stop sign.

He and his wife are expecting another baby in October, and they’re worried about his safety. “When you push a stroller, the stroller goes out first,” he said. “With those cars zipping around like that, anything could happen.”

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