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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Release #11-41

Seth Solomonow/Scott Gastel (212) 839-4850

NYC DOT Commissioner Sadik-Khan and Congresswoman Velázquez Announce Kickoff of Chinatown Curbside Parking Study

Comprehensive study will address parking options and access in congested business and residential area

New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez and other elected officials and community leaders today announced the kickoff of a comprehensive curbside management study for Lower Manhattan’s Chinatown to analyze parking conditions and identify opportunities to ease congestion and facilitate local business. The study, conducted with the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association and the Asian American Federation and made possible with nearly $750,000 in funding from Congresswoman Velázquez, is expected to identify possible short-term improvements such as reallocation of curbside space for business or residential parking and possible adjustment of meters times or rates. It will also identify 20 high-impact blocks for pilot improvements to gauge future possibilities. As the study develops, longer term improvements will be identified and recommendations made leading to the 2012 implementation. The allocation of curbside space for pedestrian safety improvements will also be studied. The study also includes DOT’s first-ever bilingual online portal, featuring an interactive focus which will allow the department to broaden its community outreach.

“This study will allow DOT to take a comprehensive look at how to best manage valuable curbside space in this bustling neighborhood,” said Commissioner Sadik-Khan. “The participation of several community groups and the introduction of the agency’s first-ever bilingual online portal take our community outreach approach to the next level.”

“This study will help identify ways to improve the flow of traffic in the Lower East Side,” said Congresswoman Velázquez. “By finding opportunities that enhance transportation in our community, we can elevate the quality of life for local residents, while making Chinatown more economically vibrant over the long term.”

“I have long made reducing congestion and improving pedestrian safety in Chinatown a top priority and this study will help advance those goals,” stated Assemblyman Sheldon Silver, “This new initiative will help bring more order to the streets and sidewalks of our Chinatown community. I applaud Congresswoman Velázquez and the DOT for inviting residents and local businesses to become involved in this process. I look forward to giving the community a meaningful voice when it comes to shaping the future of our streets.”

“I commend Commissioner Sadik-Khan and Congresswoman Velázquez for this proactive effort to evaluate and better manage curbside access in one of Manhattan's most densely populated communities, which will help to address congestion, pedestrian safety, and the needs of local businesses,” said Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer. “Community feedback is the most valuable reflection of a neighborhood's needs, and I am encouraged that DOT will give the community an opportunity to voice their concerns and participate in the reform of their streets.”

“Chinatown is as bustling as ever, and that's good,” said State Senator Daniel Squadron. “But too often the rules of the road aren't keeping up with the need.  Without adequate curb space, vehicles must double park and circle the neighborhood, adding traffic to an already congested community.  Buses pick up and drop off passengers without regulation or oversight, a problem that I am working to address with Speaker Silver and Council Member Chin.  This new study will shed light on the new solutions to unregulated street use in Chinatown, and I join the community in thanking Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez for her work to move the study forward.”

“I want to thank Congresswoman Velázquez for committing needed resources to finally conduct an in-depth study of the parking challenges we face in Chinatown and the lower East Side,” said Council Member Margaret Chin. “It is already frustrating traveling on the bus through Chinatown and being unable to make turns due to double parked vehicles. It is even worse for pedestrians trying to safely cross streets where visibility is blocked by illegally parked vehicles. The streets and throughways in Chinatown are narrow and we need to seriously look at how we can make the most of the space we have. The current parking rules and regulations are antiquated and do not meet the needs of the surrounding community and local businesses."

“Parking is always an issue in Chinatown of Manhattan,” said Jack Eng, President, Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association. “Our residents, businesses, restaurants and tourists need more affordable parking spaces in the area.  We hope this study will improve the parking situation in Chinatown.”

"This study will concretely address several long-standing parking issues in Chinatown that have caused safety concerns and hampered the community's economic development,” said Cao O, Executive Director, Asian-American Federation. “The Asian American Federation is grateful to Congresswoman Velázquez for making this study possible. We are committed to working in partnership with the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association and the New York City Department of Transportation on this important project.  DOT has put together a great team, and we look forward to seeing an active process for community input and ultimately concrete solutions to Chinatown's parking needs."

“For years the Chinatown community has been beset by the problem of traffic congestion,” said James Wong, President, Lin Sing Association. “In particular, the scarcity of parking spaces not only compromises the freedom of movement for businesses, shoppers and residents alike but also poses street hazards for pedestrians. We applaud Congressmember Nydia

Velázquez for providing the funding and the DOT for commissioning an empirical study of this vital issue.  We hope the study will prompt policy makers to reexamine current rules and regulations governing parking spaces and find innovative solutions to revitalize our local economy and improve public safety.”

“The Chinatown Curbside Management Study will be the most extensive transportation planning study conducted by NYC DOT that is done with close ties to community leaders and residents in one of the most vibrant live-work communities in our City,” said Christopher Kui, Executive Director, Asian Americans For Equality. “The web-based information portal will provide information and a channel for direct communication about the study in both Chinese and English.  AAFE look forward to working closely with Congresswoman Velázquez and the DOT, technical consultants on the project and the Community Advisory Board on this important initiative.”

“Congress Member Nydia Velázquez had been very active studying & trying to solve Chinatown's parking need,” said Steven Tin, President, The Better Chinatown Society. “We at BCS had organized special community events throughout the year to attract more visitors and business, but without adequate parking, Chinatown and Lower East Side will continue to slide, parking is #1 priority and we want to thank the Congress Member for her continuous effort.”

“Perhaps true all over the city, but it seems that parking rules are not friendly to businesses in Chinatown and Little Italy, two important historic NYC ethnic venues,” said Victor Papa, President, Two Bridges Community Council, “Any study should look to an alternative system; one that is sensitive to and optimizes the potential to accommodate throngs of visitors and tourists to the area, which in turn will contribute to full economic recovery and the jobs that such a recovery can create.”

“Availability of parking is an important issue in Chinatown for business, residents and visitors alike," said Justin Yu, President, Chinese Chamber of Commerce. "The Chinatown Chamber of Commerce looks forward to working closely with Congresswoman Velázquez, The NYC DOT, and all others involved in this critical study.”

"I applaud Congresswoman Velázquez for funding such an important study,” said Bob Zuckerman, Executive Director, Lower East Side Business Improvement District. “Everyone on the Lower East Side knows all too well about the serious parking issues that Chinatown and the Lower East Side face on a regular basis, so this DOT study will go a long way towards finding long lasting solutions for both neighborhoods."

DOT has also launched its first bilingual online portal for the study, similar in scope to the one DOT initiated for the agency’s Jackson Heights study.  Users will be able to see, in both English and Chinese, the project data, a map of the study area, news on the study and will be able to leave comments. Once project recommendations are made, they will be added to the portal and community feedback will be solicited. This portal demonstrates DOT’s focus on the community input process throughout the study, and the final study recommendations will reflect the community input gathered throughout. The portal link is available at http://nyc.gov/dot/projects/chinatown-curbside-management.

The study, which will be conducted by URS, will seek to develop feasible curbside management recommendations. Rollout begins this month as the study’s multi-agency Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) and Community Advisory Committee (CAC) will hold their first meetings.

The boundaries of the study include Delancey/Kenmare streets and East Broadway to the North, Essex and Montgomery streets to the East, Madison and Monroe streets to the South, and Baxter and Lafayette streets to the West. The study area is within Community Boards 1, 2 and 3. Throughout the study, community outreach will include a full-time community liaison, public meetings and community walkthroughs.

The Technical Advisory Committee is comprised of entities with operating authority in and around Chinatown, including DOT, MTA NYC Transit (NYCT), NYC Department of City Planning (DCP), NYPD, NYC Department of Sanitation (DSNY), NYC Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA), NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC), Mayor’s Office of Community Affairs (CAU), NYC Economic Development Corporation (EDC), FDNY and Congresswoman Velázquez’s office. The Community Advisory Committee will include neighborhood elected officials, Manhattan Community Boards 1, 2, and 3, as well as prominent community and business oriented groups.

Map of Study Area

Additional details of the study are available online at www.nyc.gov/dot.

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