D.O.T. puts brakes on Play Street plan | East Villager & Lower East Sider

D.O.T. puts brakes on Play Street plan

BY LINCOLN ANDERSON | In a stunning setback for P.S. 3, the Department of Transportation has denied the public school’s request for a desperately needed Play Street on Grove St. between Hudson and Bedford Sts. The school is extremely squeezed for space and says it needs the street to give the children outdoor time.

David Gruber, chairperson of Community Board 2, told The Villager he recently received a one-sentence e-mail from D.O.T. notifying him of the news.

Shirley Secunda, chairperson of C.B. 2’s Traffic and Transportation Committee, said, “D.O.T. indicated they did an evaluation and decided that closing the street would cause problems for both drivers and local residents because the Village isn’t part of the typical grid system. Their reasoning was that it might be too complicated to circumvent the street closure, and because of that, they said they were concerned that drivers might move the barricades and drive through the street, making it a concern for the children’s safety.”

How about simply posting a safety officer to keep rogue drivers from moving the barriers?

“Don’t ask me to explain,” Secunda said, “because I don’t understand it. Mystifying. We’ve asked D.O.T. for a copy of the evaluation, but haven’t received anything. Not surprisingly, the P.S. 3 people are devastated.”

C.B. 2 recently overwhelmingly approved the Play Street, despite Grove St. neighbors’ strident complaints that the noise and disruption for about one hour at midday would make their lives a nightmare.

In a statement to The Villager on Wednesday, D.O.T. said, “Safety is D.O.T.’s top priority and the agency reviewed the location and traffic impacts related to the temporary closure. Given the layout of streets in this area, the Play Street could negatively affect mobility, and raised safety concerns for pedestrians, especially schoolchildren using Grove St.”