Volume 81, Number 13ß | August 25 -31, 2011
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933
Photo courtesy the Marino Organization
One of the new pedestrian management agents on Varick St. making sure people can cross safely.
BID tries to make Varick St. better for pedestrians
By Aline Reynolds
Cars that jam up at the entrance to the Holland Tunnel on Varick St. often interfere with pedestrian traffic. The Hudson Square Connection, the neighborhood’s new business improvement district, is trying to change that by deploying pedestrian traffic managers along Varick St. as part of a pilot program aimed at keeping the crosswalks safe and vehicle-free.
This stretch of Varick is well known for drivers ignoring red lights in their impatience to get to the tunnel. But motorists are now being ordered to keep from “blocking the box” at intersections so that pedestrians can safely cross the street.
The traffic managers, supervised by Sam Schwartz Engineering, will also monitor the intersections to make sure everything is moving smoothly. The pilot program is also geared toward stopping motorists from honking their horns.
“With more than 50,000 people a day working in and visiting the Hudson Square neighborhood, we need to even the playing field so that pedestrians can safely get from one place to another in the district,” said Ellen Baer, the Hudson Square Connection’s president. “Now that Hudson Square has established itself as a business center, it is time that we take on this age-old problem.”
The BID has already taken measures to streamline traffic along Varick St., such as installing high-visibility crosswalks, improving signage and setting up pedestrian countdown signals.
The pilot program will run for six months during evening hours, Wednesday through Friday.