Volume 22, Number 53 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | May 14 - 20, 2010
Crossing guards good, but bridge is ultimate goal
An interim solution to safely crossing West St. in Lower Manhattan was the topic of a special meeting at Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s district offices last Friday. Silver’s Chief of Staff Judy Rapfogel stressed the word ‘interim,’ alluding to the pedestrian managers that have been assisting people at certain intersections as only a stop-gap measure until the assembly speaker’s task force achieves what it “really wants.”
“And that is the bridge,” said Rapfogel. “[Speaker Silver] has been speaking to the city about this.”
“I will continue to press the city on the vital need for a pedestrian bridge over West Thames Street, which has been a priority for Community Board One and the P.S. 276 Parent-Teacher Association,” Silver said in a statement on Wednesday.
As for the pedestrian manager program, Silver stated, “At my request, and with great input from the community, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation has allocated $1.2 million to fund this program. The Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center, along with the Battery Park City Authority, is in the process of soliciting bids for a contract. City and state officials are conducting traffic and pedestrian counts to help determine exactly where the managers will be assigned.”
Rapfogel said she had “no doubt” the advocacy by the task force was a determining factor in the decision to retain the pedestrian managers; a decision she said would “absolutely save lives.”
Pedestrian managers will continue to be at the Lower Manhattan street to assist those wishing to cross the most dangerous intersections. They will be stationed at the West Street intersections of Albany, Warren and Murray Streets as well as other intersections the task force has identified as dangerous.
Currently the Battery Park City Authority has a side contract with traffic management consultants Sam Schwartz Engineering that has allowed the pedestrian managers to be placed at the intersections. However, the authority is issuing a new call for proposals for the program announced last Friday.
Jim Cavanaugh, president of the Battery Park City Authority said they could spend up to $250,000 without board approval. He said the new call for proposals was to establish a long-term contract, written with “flexibility” to allow the possibility of the pedestrian managers being present on weekends in addition to the current schedule of Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Cavanaugh said adding weekends could come down to determining the “best use of [available] money.”
— John Bayles