Updated 02/09/2012 01:45 PM
DOT Gives Green Light To Delancey Street Safety Plan
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The city's Department of Transportation is moving forward with a street safety plan for busy intersections along Delancey Street.
Residents say despite recent improvements, the stretch of Delancey Street near the Williamsburg Bridge is still far too dangerous.
Over the past few years the DOT has made improvements including safety islands and countdown crosswalk signals.
Now the agency plans to shorten 14 of Delancey's 19 crossings while simplifying traffic patterns, such as reducing the number of left-hand turns drivers can make off of Delancey.
"They are going to pull the sidewalks out, reduce the crossing distance and be able to increase the cross times so people are going to be able to cross in one shot. This is a huge win for pedestrians," said David Crane of Community Board 3.
The DOT says there was an average of nine pedestrian injuries a year between 2005 and 2009 just at the intersection of Delancey and Essex.
Just last month, 12-year-old Dashane Santana was killed as she was crossing Delancey at Clinton Street. With the new improvements, Delancey will be 49 feet shorter to cross at that intersection.
In a statement, DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan said, "This plan will dramatically enhance safety for everyone on Delancey and the Lower East Side.”
Residents and commuters say it is about time.
"Going across Delancey Street, I've seen many times people running against the light, or the light getting ready to change, very dangerous," said one pedestrian.
"I'm walking here and the next thing you know, the cars are coming, and I have to walk back, jump back and cross back this way because I can't make it to the other side," said another.
The issue has been the focus of a working group made up of the DOT, community leaders, transportation advocates and local elected officials.
"To see dramatic safety changes in months, not years, at a time when there isn't a lot of money is really a big deal," said State Senator Daniel Squadron.
The plan has been presented to the transportation committee of Community Board 3 and is now under review. If everyone involved reaches a consensus, the DOT could begin work on the project in June.