DOT Installs Traffic Calming Measures at Known Kenmare Street Bottleneck

Posted on: July 29th, 2016 at 5:00 am by
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One dangerous downtown intersection is now a bit safer.

The western terminus of Kenmare Street, where it abuts Lafayette, now sports a permanent installation of flexible bollards.

As an extension of the Williamsburg Bridge exit ramp, this particular intersection is known as one of the worst bottlenecks in the area. So much so that a local production company called the Maxwell Project filmed a short describing the dangers, and shaming DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg to do something. There was also a related grassroots attempt taken with a series of flyers warning people to “PLEASE BE CAREFUL CROSSING HERE and URGENT! IMMINENT DEATH.” Here’s why…

Perhaps the added bollards will calm the gridlock so that pedestrians and cyclists aren’t mowed down.

Earlier this month, on July 15, a car barelled through the Mitchell Gold & Bob Williams store’s front window. Protective plywood is now in place and painted orange. It was at least the second time in the last few years that a car went through the glass here.

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Meanwhile, area residents continue to maintain that this gridlock problem stems from the much larger issue of city tolls. Specifically with regard to the one-way charge on the Verrazano Bridge. Truckers enter Brooklyn via the Narrows, then depart the city through the toll-free East River bridges and into the Holland Tunnel. That clogs the downtown streets.

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The Villager summed up the problem perfectly four years ago:

Drivers, especially truckers, use the Verrazano going from Staten Island into Brooklyn as part of a toll-free loop through New York. On the return trip, they avoid the Staten Island-bound Verrazano and its steep fee of around $40 (trucks are tolled per axle) and instead use the free East River bridges and Holland Tunnel.

The result is thousands of toll-avoiding trucks flooding through Lower Manhattan’s major arteries — Delancey, Broome and Canal Sts. — creating, traffic, pollution, noise and danger on the streets, not to mention wear and tear on those same streets. Neighborhoods like Soho, the Lower East Side and Chinatown, especially, are hard-hit by the congestion.

From the Verrazano’s construction in 1964 through the mid-1980s, the toll was collected in both directions. Then, to help his constituents on heavily Republican Staten Island, former Senator Al D’Amato — who was then the state’s de facto G.O.P. boss — succeeded in making the bridge toll one-way. Staten Islanders wanted the change in order to avoid backups at toll plazas on their side of the span.

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