East Houston St. Improvements Need One Last Push
East Houston Street between
Broadway and the FDR Drive has long been a dangerous mix of speeding cars and
trucks, red-light running, crowded sidewalks, and wide streets. The horrid
conditions caused nearly a dozen pedestrian deaths on Houston Street in the mid
90s. In 1999, Lower Manhattan Together (LMT), a coalition of downtown church
groups and affiliate with the Industrial Areas Foundation, demanded that the
Department of Transportation do something about the growing carnage and
atrocious conditions. After intense press and thronged community meetings, DOT
began a series of improvements, including adding more crossing time at
intersections, leading pedestrian intervals (lpis) at key crossings, and
re-marked crosswalks. DOT also marked widened medians along Houston Street and
adjacent streets, and promised to fully construct them if they were 'effective.'
Transportation Alternatives joins Lower Manhattan Together and the residents of the Lower East Side in calling on DOT to get out the brick and mortar and finish what they started on East Houston Street, and make walking to the East River safe. Painted medians and neckdowns and vague promises to look into improving an intersection's safety simply do not cut it. The DOT has just finished an imaginative and far-sighted redesign of Herald Square. Houston Street deserves the same treatment.
"DOT's work to slow
traffic and protect pedestrians on East Houston Street is going to save some
lives, if it hasn't already. LMT looks forward to working with Commissioner
Weinshall to bring some order to the FDR Drive intersection and finish up the
East Houston Street project."