Volume 22, Number 35 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | January 8 - 14, 2010
Photo by Grace Flood
The elevator is out of operation, again, at the Chambers St. bridge.
Cries are going up about broken Chambers elevator
By Julie Shapiro
The elevators at the Chambers St. pedestrian bridge have been closed for the past two weeks and won’t reopen until next week at the earliest.
The damage to the eastern elevator occurred when a metal bracket above the cab came off, said Leticia Remauro, spokesperson for the Battery Park City Authority, which is responsible for the bridge. Workers are waiting for a part to come in so they can repair the elevator, Remauro said. Both the eastern and western elevators are closed until the repairs take place.
The elevator shutdown leaves pedestrians with no choice but to cross West St.’s six lanes of traffic at street level, which upsets those who feel the intersection of Chambers and West Sts. is unsafe.
“It’s an absolute nightmare,” said Rob Phillips, C.O.O. of Sam Schwartz Engineering (a traffic consultation firm) and a B.P.C. resident who crosses there twice a day. At Community Board 1’s B.P.C. Committee Tuesday night, Phillips said one reason the intersection is dangerous is because traffic enforcement agents allow cars to move against the light.
“If [traffic enforcement agents] pull a car through that light one more time, someone’s going to get hit,” Phillips said.
Separately, southwest Tribeca parents started researching the intersection last month, when one of the city’s school rezoning proposals assigned their children to P.S. 89 in Battery Park City, rather than P.S. 234 in Tribeca. That rezoning proposal, called Option 3, would require Tribeca children to cross West St. to get to school.
“It is quite frankly a danger zone,” said Stan Sandberg, a Murray St. resident whose daughter starts kindergarten next fall. Sandberg wants his daughter to be zoned for P.S. 234 so she does not have to cross West St. and rely on elevators that frequently break down.
Grace Flood, a board member at the Greenwich Court condo building in Tribeca, gathered statistics on the West St. crossings from the state Dept. of Transportation. She found that there were 22 injuries or fatalities to pedestrians and cyclists at Chambers and West Sts. between 2001 and 2005, and another 16 injuries or fatalities two blocks south at Murray and West Sts. during the same period. In all, the stretch of the highway between Chambers and Vesey Sts. saw 48 injuries or fatalities to cyclists and pedestrians in that period, more than twice as many as the area south of Vesey St.
Flood plans to present the data at a hearing of the District 2 Community Education Council’s Zoning Committee Thursday evening.