CB3 Greelights DOT Plan to Reconfigure Division Street

Posted on: November 12th, 2015 at 5:12 am by

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Intersection of Bowery and Division St.

One of the most complicated downtown intersections will soon receive a slight makeover with major implications. Indeed, the Department of Transportation is pushing through a proposal to alter the configuration of Division Street, between Market and the Bowery (part of a designated truck route). It’s a lengthy one-block zone clogged with two-way traffic, illegally parked casino buses, commuter vans (3 spots), pedestrians, Citi Bikes, etc.

A detachment from the Pedestrian Projects Group presented the proposal to the Transportation subcommittee of Community Board 3 earlier this week. Basically, the goal is to realign the street geometry by employing the DOT’s “Rapid Response Toolkit,” which enables speedy changes without the red tape.

In short, the crux of the plan is to “rationalize the channelization of vehicles.” Or, in plain English, calm the flow of traffic in the area. Current conditions are a mess.

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The proposal includes the following…

  • Eliminating the double-wide nature of the parking lane on the north side of Division Street. The space – currently twenty feet wide – would be reconfigured for a 14-foot-wide pedestrian plaza (2,900 square-feet of pedestrian space) and parallel parking. Confucious Plaza is maintenance partner. The hope is that double- and triple-parking would be discouraged.
  • Meter parking times will be reduced.
  • Construct concrete neckdown where Catherine Street intersects to increse pedestrian space and improve the sidewalk.
  • Northbound Bowery fans into three lanes at this spot. Proposal is to expand the curb with flexible bollards (i.e. “Channelization”) to eliminate the third lane right at the intersection. This will reportedly calm traffic and prevent merging congestion onto the Bowery. Two thru lanes will remain untouched.

The plan was accepted by the committee, but not without a history lesson. Namely that the western terminus of Division is a see-saw of street surgery. There was a reminder about how this sidewalk area on the north side of the street was intentionally blocked with trees years ago to discourage street vendors from setting up shop here. (Those vendors eventually relocated to Forsyth Street.) Now the DOT wants to reverse course to open it up again. So it goes.

Implementation is pegged for “springtime,” with a completion time of two to three weeks.

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