DOT shows a realistic simulation of Hell’s Kitchen traffic at the study’s fourth PAC meeting

We wish to thank Margaret Forgione and Andrew Lenton for a very informative meeting on June 28th, 2010.

We respectfully request that a higher priority be assigned to this project with matching focus and resources. Any more delay will jeopardize our ability to secure capital funding for the implementation.
After the PAC meeting we reported the status to a number of community leaders who complained of the delays. We note in the proposed schedule that the study will extend much longer (until Spring 2011) than originally envisioned (Spring 2009) doubling its duration. While we support and applaud the major projects undertaken around us (Broadway,, 34th Street Transitway, Herald Square, Gansevoort) we cannot help noting that our project is being pushed down in the priority list.

Including more than 50% of green cycles as gridlocked in the traffic simulation will better reflect the reality on the ground. We applaud the construction of a realistic traffic model for the area : the highlight of the meeting was a demonstration of the traffic simulation software DOT uses to integrate all the data collected in the area and take in account the effect of Lincoln Tunnel queues spill back at evening peak hour. This is a very sophisticated analysis, which is not usually preformed for EIS, a fact we have often deplored. Sure enough one can see in real time the accumulations of cars and we finally have an engineering model that accurately reflects the facts on the ground.
Manhattan Borough President Stringer commissioned a study of gridlock in 2006 showing the intersection of 38th Street and 9th Avenue as one of the top five most gridlocked in Manhattan. It is our experience that tunnel bound queues gridlock intersections in more that 75% of green cycles when there is spill back. Such reality should be included in the representation of current conditions.

The meeting then moved to solutions that should be studied which were mostly consistent with earlier requests of the Community Board and CHEKPEDS. See all the suggestions on the DOT site and on this list of proposed solutions compiled by CHEKPEDS .

The option of 11th Avenue one way from 34th to 40th Street is not consistent with the study’s goals and should not be part of it. It is mutually exclusive with reducing truck, buses and car congestion on 9th and 10th Avenue.

The following items were discussed at the meeting:

• a no turn into the ramp at 37th street and 9th avenue is supported by the Port Authority
• the one way 11th Avenue from 45th Street up should consider both options – up to 50th or to 57th streets to ensure that the option reduce congestion in the upper part of the district
• rerouting ramp C traffic to entrances further south (35th or 33rd) as requested by Community Board 4, should be studied as it is expected it would reduce traffic north of 42nd Street and free up a large space for the much needed greening of Hell’s Kitchen South. It was part of the scope at our last meeting. Now the Port Authority agreed to study this option. Community Board 4 also requested that a pedestrian crossing be installed on the west side of 9th Avenue to cross Ramp C.
• DOT included the study of 8th and 9th Avenue protected bike lanes up to 57th Street.
• The community is asking to evaluate what are the best cross streets for cross town bike lanes
• In addition to 41st street, 39th Street will be studied as a truck and bus route

WE note in the short -term improvements, that the representation of the canoe greening at 36th street is not up to date. The most recent design includes two rows of trees with the walkway in the center aligned with pedestrian crossings on either end.

At the next meeting in the fall, detailed analysis of current and future conditions without improvements will be published.
The community is asking that updates to short-term improvements underway be given at that time.

All electeds and Community representatives were on deck to hear the report of this phase. Agencies were well represented as well with Fire Department , Port Authority and a large contingent from DOT all taking active part in the discussion.
See the powerpoint and other documents at the DOT site

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