CB1 Tonight: Solutions for pedestrians at the Holland Tunnel
CB1’s Transportation Committee will deal with the issue of the Holland Tunnel traffic at Vestry TONIGHT, so I am getting this post up quickly for that purpose so folks can join in. The meeting is online on WebEx here, starting at 6p.
Neighbors have gotten in touch with me in the past, most notably last November, when T. witnessed a baby stroller get hit by a car, and while no one was hurt, it was clearly alarming. He and he wife have had several near-misses on the corner of Vestry and Hudson. We’ve all seen it, but below are some videos for the record.
It makes sense that things are getting worse: the traffic consultant Sam Schwartz has predicted that an additional 85,000 cars will enter the Central Business District (CBD = south of 60th Street) in 2023 vs. 2019. See more on Schwartz’s study below.
Since T. wrote last fall, the Port Authority has installed lane dividers to keep drivers from sneaking in from local side streets, but the blocking of the box at Vestry continues to be an issue, T. said, especially on weekends and holidays when the traffic is at its worst and the NYPD and DOT do not seem to be present. (The Port Authority manages tunnel traffic on Hudson from 3 to 7p, Monday to Friday.)
Neighbors hope the city will permanently cut off access to the tunnel via Vestry Street as they do temporarily Monday to Friday. That is likely on the docket for tonight.
“Our neighbors that live on the east side of Vestry have shared that they access their homes coming up the local lane on the east side of Hudson which is much easier than navigating the gridlock at the intersection. The vast majority of the cars using the intersection is headed to the tunnel and not our neighborhood. Traffic cops should also be on Vestry, Laight, and maybe Hubert to control the traffic seven days a week during periods of congestion so families aren’t forced to take roundabout roots to cross the street.”
“With all these traffic injuries happening across the city, I’m surprised there isn’t more urgency to this issue.”
And I have taken the full text from Sam Schwartz’s survey and turned it into bullet points to give you a quick picture of traffic patterns between 2019 and post-pandemic:
- 2019: 73% of trips were on public transit
- 2021: 56% of trips are on transit
- Subways dropped from 56% to 39% (note: system-wide subway ridership has rebounded to over 50% of pre-pandemic volumes as of September 2021, but this survey only looked at subway trips into the CBD).
- 2023, transit is expected to bounce back to 65%, with subways projected to rebound to 48%
- People who switched from transit to driving are unlikely to fully switch back
- 2019: 23% of trips were by personal vehicle
- 2021: 35% during the pandemic
- 2023: car share is projected to reduce somewhat to 28% — still well above 2019 levels. This would translate to an increase of as many as 85,000 vehicles entering the CBD daily