Progress Update on West 15th St. Traffic Issues (100, 200, and 300 block)
Last summer our three groups jointly petitioned the city regarding the two annual street fairs on West 14th Street. We hoped to avoid having the westbound 14th Street buses routed onto 15th Street for the usual reasons of congestion, danger to residents and pedestrians on the street, shaking of buildings; etc. But now, with the new 20" High Pressure Gas Main, especially one that has already been broken on the 100 Block back in April, the idea of detouring double-sized buses onto 15th Street is recklessly endangering.
We actually caught agencies lying about why they wanted to use 15th. Although they would not agree to detour the buses elsewhere, when the events did occur the buses were miraculously detoured somewhere else other than 15th Street. But no one will clarify how or where, so it remains a threat to our street for this coming summer.
Therefore, our three groups have petitioned for three types of assistance. 1) We asked for potholes and depressions in our road surface to be fixed to prevent bumping when heavy weight traffic does go by. 2) We asked for enforcement of the no trucking rules (and no buses too). 3) We asked for Community Board #4 to take steps when it annually supports street fair applications for 14th Street to ensure that no bus detours would affect our street
In addition, although it wasn't on the printed agenda for December, the issue of the direction of traffic on 9th Avenue was discussed. The 100 Block has raised questions about how changing the traffic flow between 14th and 16th Street might impact upon truck traffic on West 15th Street. But except for me and two people from the 300 Block, no one was at the meeting to discuss the issue because it was entirely unannounced.
The issue was then scheduled for a second discussion for January 19th. However, over the holidays, CB#4 scheduled a second Transportation Planning Committee meeting for the first week of January where the issue was discussed without anyone from my block knowing to attend. The CB knows we are all interested, so clearly they are not dealing with the issue with appropriate community participation.
I am uncertain whether our three blocks will be able to secure the proper response to the four concerns listed above UNLESS we work more closely together on these issues.
Cheers, and do remember Wednesday, January the 19th's CB#4 Transportation Planning Committee Meeting which is supposed to address the Department of Transportation's request for a formal Community Board request for an enforcement "blitz" against illegal heavy weight traffic.
Happy New Year from the 200 Block
Stanley Bulbach, Ph.D.