Mime Threat Overshadows Car-Free Prince Street Proposal

If you read the comments on the previous post, then you know something interesting is in the works for Prince Street. Next Tuesday, Community Board 2’s Transportation Committee will consider a proposal to turn a six-block stretch of Prince Street, from Lafayette to West Broadway, into a car-free zone on Sundays from 11am to 6pm. The pilot project would likely run from Memorial to Labor Day. The idea for this long-sought reallocation of street space emerged from discussions between DOT and the SoHo Partnership, the neighborhood’s innovative welfare-to-work program.

Not surprisingly, an opposition movement has already sprung into action. Faithful Streetsblog readers will recall the SoHo Alliance as the neighborhood group that seems to specialize in fighting street vendors, new bike lanes, sidewalk widenings and, generally, any livable street improvement that threatens to diminish long-time SoHo residents’ access to on-street parking.

A tipster reports that the Alliance is papering the neighborhood with flyers arguing against the pilot project. Here’s a sample bullet point from the flyer, which can be found in its entirety, below:

The current do-wop group will attract other noisy street performers to entertain the increased crowds of tourists. Food vendors will likely spring up. Will Jugglers and mimes be far behind?

Though the specter of mime-filled streets truly is terrifying (and quite politically savvy — I mean, who’s going to speak up for the mimes?) does a bad case of coulrophobia outweigh the potential benefits of car-free Sundays?

As it is, Prince Street is jam-packed with pedestrians and vendors on the weekend yet the majority of the public right-of-way is hogged up by a horn-honking, exhaust-spewing, barely-moving armada of SUV’s and luxury sedans. When London pedestrianized some of its most popular shopping streets, it led to a bonanza for local businesses, a PR coup for the city’s sustainability agenda and a generally nicer, more pleasant public realm for residents and tourists to enjoy.

If you want to help make a car-free Prince Street a reality, then speak up at Community Board 2’s Transportation Committee meeting next Tuesday, March 11 at 7:30pm. The meeting will be at the NYU Silver Building, 32 Waverly Place, room 713. You can be sure the other guys will be there.

The Soho Alliance flyer can be found after the jump…

soho_mauling030.jpg

  • I did pedestrian counts in that area for Gehl and the NYC life survey. The number of peds is astounding. Good call by DOT.

  • On Street Pete

    well as a local resident who prefers mimes over mustangs, peds over pintos, el mariachis over el caminos and PYTs over SUVs, I’ll be at the meeting on the 11th making damn sure that a few months from now people know it as “the livable street formerly known as Prince”

  • Soho Resident

    It always amazes me how people from outside our neighborhood (particularly people from other boroughs which you probably are #2) always think they should be able to dictate what happens in Soho. If its not the illegal street vendors who think they should be able to sell their crap on the side walks every weekend its the DOT suggesting that people who live along Prince St can’t take deliveries on the weekend or get into a cab in front of their apartment.

    I’m in favor of reducing the congestion in Soho. But come up with an idea that doesn’t punish the residents such as (i) extending the banning of parking from the weekdays to the weekend, (ii) banning all tour busses and (iii) putting on east river tolls to eliminate the god awful mess on Broome.

  • The Real SoHo Resident

    I amazed at how people on the internet can assume that everyone else but them is lying. After all since On Street Pete doesn’t agree with Soho Resident he must be from another neighborhood maybe even from (gasp) the OTHER BOROS!!!

    Well as you can see I’m the Real Soho Resident, all the other Soho Residents are just phonies. You can tell because I put The Real in front of SoHo Resident and because I capitalize the H. The other Soho Resident is a phony and is probably from some godforsaken land like the Village. And I know because this is the internet and nobody can fake who they are ever on the internet. Nobody.

  • Gotta give props to the bad guys on using mimes as a wedge issue and the use of “cockamamie”! But definitely a good call by DOT – I hope it works, and spreads.

  • real new yorker

    “Soho Resident”:

    as a resident of Soho you are no doubt “punished” in myriad ways already, but can you explain to me why the proposal would exact further punishment on you?

    you may own your townhouse or loft, but the streets, like the air above them, belong to everyone.

    my guess is that you buy into the stale canards of other motoring NOMOS (Not on My Own Street)and fail to understand how needless traffic and car-oriented design negatively impacts everyone who lives, works, shops and breathes in NYC

    you’re like those who opposed the smoking ban just because they happened to own the restaurant, forgetting that you are outnumbered and outentitled by workers and patrons.

  • Clarence

    If people want to see what the possibilities of car-free streets bring, watch Part 3 “lessons from bogota” we just put up.

    It comes about halfway thru, a restaurateur turned his street car-free against the naysayers and now it is one of the most wonderful places in Bogota.

    And we didn’t see any mimes while we were there.

  • class act

    hey Soho Resident:

    if instead of hawking “Crap” the street vendors sold items of true quality that reflect the class and distinction of you and your neighbors, would you still object?

  • And we didn’t see any mimes while we were there.

    That’s it, I’m canceling my flight!

  • On Street Pete

    SohoResident–

    i actually reside closer (and farther) than you think. I do live in SOHO but in a greener parallel universe where people understand that the streets are PUBLIC SPACE. If you have no problem with a guy from Jersey driving on your street, why object to a chap from NOHO ambling?

  • Another real Soho resident

    Thanks Soho Resident I appreciate you standing up for us. I read back through all the emails (most of which seem to be posted by the same person) attacking you and none of them really address the issues you raised in the earlier thread re why this is a bad idea (it’s failed in almost all American cities and the congestion it will produce on surrounding streets) or offer to solve the real problems facing the neighborhood. Instead they just offer personal attacks.

  • Soho Born and Bred

    I can pull rank on all you! i was born AND raised on Sullivan!! i am not sure how i feel about this. but my hubby and i are planning on going to the meeting to see what all the hubub is about. i know that london and paris have done this sort of thing and its worked

  • Born & Raised NYC

    My family and I will be there supporting the SoHo Alliance.

  • Davis

    Perspective people: They are proposing a PILOT PROJECT.

    If it doesn’t work out, just don’t do it next year.

    It’s not like there will be any construction associated with this.

  • Nostalgic

    I can imagine it turning SOHO into a scene like the old South Street Seaport. The final nail in the coffin of what made it such a great place to homestead and gallery explore. It’s awful. The people who live there now don’t inspire particular sympathy, I guess.

  • Stacy

    As a “local” resident who has, reluctantly, begun using the new Prince Street bike lane on a fairly regular basis, (primarily food runs from the Cherry Street Pathmark,) the idea of a Prince Street Pedestrian Mall sounds like a cyclist’s nightmare. It’s hard enough to weave through all the pedestrians who seem to feel sidewalks are an option as things are now. Make Prince Street a pedestrian mall and cyclists will find ourselves, once again, relegated to Houston Street – the bicycle boulevard of death. And to make matters worse, we’ll be competing with all the additional traffic that will no longer be able to use Prince Street!

    The whole Soho/Village/Nolita area has limited cross streets. The notion of turning Prince Street into a pedestrian mall just underscores the need for a fully protected Houston Street bike lane, similar to the Ninth Avenue bike lane.

  • Just saying

    I go to a lot of community board meetings and there are always people in community board meetings that are so afraid of an experiment actually working that they are against the experiment.

    The public input process has to evolve and change to be more inclusive of the whole community rather than just the typical vocal “opposed to everything” minority that typically show up at public hearings and community meetings.

    A 21st Century community board should have online message boards for ongoing dialogue about specific subjects pending before the board, community e-polling to see what the silent majority think on an issue, a lot more data, reports and expert analysis.

    I’m not saying there’s not a place for in-person meetings, but they need to be held in the context of much more general public opinion.

  • Born & Raised NYC

    Great point Stacy (#16)

  • ally & biker

    #11, whenever a street in NYC has been demapped or otherwise opened to pedestrians it has worked. Washington Square, Stone Street, car free madison in the early 70’s that was stopped because a few diamond merchants thought that more of their patrons drove instead of walk. sure “pedestrian malls” have failed in other US cities, but those were in places where there were not many peds to begin with. prince is overflowing with them, literally spilling into the street. as for bike through traffic, peds outnumber bicyclists on prince by about 500 to 1. i think they can get the street one day a week and “force” bicyclists to go a few blocks out of their way.

  • the truth

    MANHATTAN should develop more PEDESTRIAN FRIENDLY areas. Times Square and Herald Square should be plazas for PEOPLE not cars.

  • Stacy

    ally & biker (#19) Keep in mind the Prince Street Bike Lane has only been in existence since January. The only other west bound street, between Houston and Canal, is Grand Street, which also functions as a feeder for the Holland Tunnel. The idea that bicyclists should go a few more blocks out of their way just isn’t realistic.

  • Regarding people needing to access taxis or get big shopping to their front doors, there are lots of slow, pedal-powered alternatives to go from the border of the car-zone to their front doors and back, not to mention other uses like garbage collection:

    See and

    I think most of this stuff is available in NYC.

    The distributors of this equipment could offer it for free as promotion, or funds could be raised for a few shared cargobikes which would be parked at the periphery of the carfree area on Sundays, maybe just for use by residents, but ideally for everyone.

  • Timmy

    I agree with the Soho poster that this is a truly dumb idea. It punishes the local residents and the bike riders (who as Stacy points out may end up dead). The only people that may benefit are the tourists. Why should tourists be promoted over local residents? Why should we have more blocks looking like the tacky street fairs that are all over the city during the summer? Perhaps the other posters on this board need more acylic socks and sausage sandwiches but I don’t.

    I am also kind of amazed the no one on this board can’t come up with better traffic mitigation ideas then the fat slobs at DOT. What about banning all right turns from Broadway onto Prince year round and banning all turns from West Broadway onto Spring? In addition, why not ban the tour buses that clog the streets?

  • Timmy

    BTW, Aaron Naparstek, I’m impressed with your ability to completely misrepresent the opposition of the Soho Alliance re this proposal. No one in the neighborhood is trying to keep Prince Street open for parking reasons. Anyone who lives in Soho would know that all parking is banned from 8:00am to 6:00pm during the week so it’s impossible to have a car in Soho unless it’s in a garage. If you walk up and down Prince on the weekend you will see that all the cars are from NJ. Perhaps you should do a little research before you start typing.

  • rhubarbpie

    Funny line about the mimes not having anyone to speak up for them.

    I guess as a non-Soho resident, I don’t have a right to have an opinion about this, according to some of the posters here. But nevertheless, I do hope Soho residents will support my alternate proposal for the three-level highway on Prince!

  • Born & Raised NYC

    Do you think the proposal would cause rent/property values would go up or down in the pedestrian mall area of Prince?

  • Timmy,

    The president of the SoHo Alliance has frequently spoken out against livable streets projects in favor of residents’ access to on-street parking. That’s no big secret. I’m aware that it’s no longer the main issue since most of the on-street parking has been removed. I posted the Alliance’s flier in full so I don’t see how you can say we’re misrepresenting their position. Clearly, it’s all about the mimes.

  • Timmy

    Aaron, you make it sound like the on street parking was just removed (yet another misrepresentation). It was never permitted here as this has always been a commercial district. We are one of the few neighborhoods in Manhattan were there is NO residential parking.

    Also, you are clearly misreprenting what’s gonig on. You wrote above “Not surprisingly, an opposition movement has already sprung into actionFaithful Streetsblog readers will recall the SoHo Alliance as the neighborhood group that seems to specialize in fighting street vendors, new bike lanes, sidewalk widenings and, generally, any livable street improvement that threatens to diminish long-time SoHo residents’ access to on-street parking”. So you are clearly trying to argue this is about parking.

    I’ll state it once again because you don’t seem particularly smart: Soho residents don’t use street parking because only commerical vehicles are allowed during the day. This isn’t about parking.

  • Hey = #25 Timmy
    Thanks regarding Naparstek!

    That guy can grasp defeat from the jaws of victory.

    I sit on the Advisory Board of the SoHo Partnership, which Naparstek erroneously claims is behind this. I am also Director of the SoHo Alliance, which is opposing this proposal from the bureaucrats at DOT.

    Actually, a certain borough commissioner from DOT came to the founder of the SoHo Partnership and discussed this proposal with him three weeks ago – before she even talked to anyone on the community board! He was non-committal. Since the Partnership is a 501 c-3 charity, it cannot engage in this kind of matter.

    So, please correct that assertion ASAP, Mr. Naparstak.

    And shame on DOT for pitting one well-meaning neighborhood group against the other. She tried to divide and conquer; we seasoned activists are too savvy for that.

    In fact, it was the SoHo Alliance, working with TA, that worked on survey questions and polling locations in 2006 for a SoHo Traffic Study. This resulted in the report by paid traffic consultant from Brooklyn, Bruce Schaller, calling for Prince Street to be closed.

    Schaller has since been hired by DOT. If this proposal of his is not a conflict of interest, what is?

    Instead of realizing that allies might disagree on minor matters, Naparstek tries to marginalize and demonize the SoHo Alliance, who represent the long-timem as well as the newer, residents of SoHo. We have over a thousand members.

    In fact, it was at our first meeting the word “SoHo” was coined.

    This was immediately after us defeating Robert Moses’ Cross-Manhattan Expressway. Before Naparstek was born.

    We went on to legalize artist’s residences in SoHo and to landmark SoHo. We love our neighborhood.

    We have been fighting for over 20 years to reverse the iniquitous Verrazano Bridge toll that pours thousands of toll beaters into lower Manhattan and ruins our environment.

    In fact, in 1987 the SoHo Alliance sued the MTA in court to reverse the toll, but lost, unfortunately. We still constantly lobby our elected officials to change the tolls back.

    The SoHo Alliance helped secure a bike path on Lafayette Street in 1996.

    Our members fought to have trucks banned on Broome Street. We succeeded.

    Tellingly, the Alliance actually did force DOT to ban parking on Greene and Prince Streets on weekends as an experiment about six years ago and they agreed, but the experiment unfortunately was a failure and it got reverted back.

    So for Streetsblog to say we are pro-parking is odious as well as incorrect. Why it attacks its allies is incomprehensible to this community activist.

    Also, the SoHo Alliance has fought against the Landmarks Commission’s decision to prohibit trees in SoHo.
    In fact, SoHo residents have done guerrilla tree plantings

    Our members secured a million dollars to renovate Petronsino Square in eastern SoHo, something Streets Renaissance has talked about for years, but got nowhere with.

    The SoHo Alliance is taking the city to court to stop the Trump condo-hotel in SoHo, partly for what it will do to exacerbate the traffic at the Holland Tunnel. (see this week’s: thevillager.com )

    The Alliance agitated for a Class 1 secure bike land on Houston Street last year, along with TA and Time’s Up.

    Rather than settle for a second-class bike lane on Prince, we rejected DOT’s crumbs and are still demanding a real bike lane on Houston. (For opposing Prince Street bike lane – which few use, incidentally, except the peddlers and Fresh Direct, UPS and idling limousines – Naparstek excoriated us on this blog last year.)

    The SoHo Alliance hired a lawyer to fight the DOT’s ludicrous proposal to kill trees on the Houston Street media and replace them with two dedicated left-hand-turn waiting bay for cars turning onto Mercer Street and West Broadway, which only benefits 3% of the cars passing through that part of Houston Street and which serves to make Houston resemble an interstate highway.

    The SoHo Alliance has been on the front line for congestion pricing from Day One.

    But because we don’t want our neighborhood to turn into the San Gennaro Festival (actually that monstrosity is just a block away), Naparstek is piling up on us.

    Most of our members are not transients. We created this neighborhood from the ashes of Moses’ project. Just about every resident I polled was vehement in their opposition to this proposal.

    Do you not believe in community empowerment, that a community should have control of its own destiny? Not paid consultants or bureaucrats at DOT?

    There is a mall on Mulberry Street for 15 years and the residents hate it. Don’t we count? Or is tourism more important?

    Incidentally, all of our members are volunteers, including me, receiving no reimbursement for trying to preserve the character of our neighborhood. Would this were true for Schaller, the DOT borough commissioner and Naparstek.

    Our streets have been taken over by illegal – repeat illegal – peddlers and tourists. Naparstek defends their illegal activity.

    Prince Street is not Stone Street or Nassau Street. They have few, if any residents. We are primarily a residential neighborhood.

    If anyone on this blog thinks these malls are a good idea, God bless you! Go for it! Get one on your block.

    But until you do, let the residents of SoHo have control of their community, to preserve its character, not tourists or bureaucrats at DOT.

    For more information on the good works our volunteers do for SoHo and the environment, please visit sohoalliance.org

  • Stacy

    Sorry my previous post should have read that the only other west bound street, between Houston and Canal, is Broome Street, which also functions as a feeder for the Holland Tunnel.

  • Timmy, Prince Street lost around 120 parking spaces last year as part of the Prince/Bleecker bike lane project. You can find a letter from SoHo Alliance president Sean Sweeney opposing, among other things, the loss of parking:

    http://www.streetsblog.org/2007/04/18/free-parking-advocates-mobilizing-against-new-bike-lanes-in-soho/

    Sean, I’m glad to hear that you are a supporter of livable streets. The Petrosino Square project is great. Unfortunately, each time a SoHo livable streets project has come up publicly during these two years that Streetsblog has existed, whether it be a new bike lane, sidewalk widening or opening a street to pedestrians, we’ve only seen you speak out and mobilize against it.

  • Andy B from Jersey

    As you can clearly see I’m not from SoHo or even NYC. But as student of urban planning and frequent visitor to Europe, I can tell you that any street in Europe that has been turn into a pedestrian zone has been a major boom for local residents and merchants alike. These areas have gotten decided upscale. As such such action in SoHo would probably force tawdry illegal vender’s out of the area as cafe’s and restaurant would move tables and seating into the streets and displace them. Even the most vocal critics of such plans in Europe have come to embrace them once they see the benefits.

    And as a cyclist, I’d suggest that bikers could just slow down for a couple of blocks and still make it through safely. Thats how it done in most pedestrian zones in Europe. In some others you still have to dismount. But heck! It only for a couple of blocks. Houston St will kill you before walking will.

    Just give it a try Prince St! It’s only a trial for 2 1/2 months. You might find out that you’ll like it. You’ll never know unless you try.

  • Forever

    I’ve lived in the area forever. Is everyone forgetting the mess with the Mulberry Street Mall? How about the San Gennaro and St. Anthony Feasts which also run right into Prince Street? The congestion it causes in the surrounding area, the pollution from the congestion. This isn’t made by cars but BY THE CLOSING OF OUR STREETS. YOU WANT TO CLEAR UP THE CONGESTION, THEN KEEP OUR STREETS OPENED. It’s that simple. There’s no enforcement. The hell it has brought into the community and the robbing of the residents basic quality-of-life, i.e. sleeping, access to our homes, the noise and filth that comes with it. You’ll never be able to open your windows again. How is this helping the community? How about helping and understanding the the residents input and what about the people who actually visit families here and the children that need to study and can’t because of the racket? Don’t we have any rights! This is OUR home so just deal with it. To those that enjoy visiting this crap, how about suggesting this to YOUR Community Board and having it set up where you live? Not on my block put it on our blocks. We’re real people living here and yet we’ve become the city’s “freak show”. Wake up! This is purely for the good of the merchants/vendors and the tourist and hell for the residents not to mention that if there is an emergency (and there have been quite a few on Mulberry Street during that mall and feasts) that it it impossible to get an ambulance or fire truck down that street. A senior who got sick had to be carried on a stretcher three blocks because of the crowds. A woman got a heart attack and died because the ambulance got caught up in traffic and didn’t get to her in time because the streets were closed for the mall (right on Hester and Mulberry Street). I could go on forever. Of course, people don’t want to see or hear about these things. That’s the real world in the hell on Mulberry Street that was supposed to start from Memorial Day but now will be starting May 2 if the merchants get their way and continues through to Columbus Day (which originally it was supposed to end Labor Day) while in between there is the San Gennaro Feast and now the St. Anthony Feast. What the merchants want, the merchants get and they want our area for a pedestrian mall and they don’t even live here people. This area is NOT the Seaport. Real people live here (have lived here way before these so called businesses and vendors set up shop) and we should be entitled to the same quality-of-life as every other area. The people who come to these so called theme parks have NO respect for the area and are NOT respectful to the community. In addition, the businesses will ALWAYS complain that they are not making money. Do you think they want the IRS to know what they’re actually making? You have to stop this NOW. Otherwise, it will be too late. And believe me, this will expand – have no doubt about that. Your living proof is Mulberry Street and then Hester Street was added and then parts of Broome and Grand Street were added. Think people. Instead of condeming the residents, how about just putting yourself in our shoes for a moment. Unless your a “student” just temporarily housing here, you wouldn’t want it outside of your door – no way. No how.

  • hot cross puns

    as a svelte employee of dot, i take offense to post #24. dot bureaucrats proposing these types of projects are actually very slim, thank you.

    borough commissioners just do their job. blaming them is pointless.

    soho is not primarily a residential neighborhood, sean. origin-destination surveys of both pedestrians and vehicles in soho would show you that the vast majority of people in soho at any given time are not residents.

  • Forever

    Hot cross puns – so what is your point? The borough commissioners get paid to do a job and they have the power to make a difference but are notorious in taking the easy way out – they just ignore the residents input and attempt to make the residents look bad. But, life is changing and it’s time to hold them accountable. If they did a new survey, I am sure they would find that the so-called factories are now residential areas. Get real. By the way, a small correction, the Mulberry Street Mall has been around for 9 years, this will be the 10th and not 15 (heaven forbid) as previously stated. The SoHo Alliance has done a tremendous amount of good for the area and has been a ray of hope to other neighborhoods in the area set by their example but then who gives credit to something that has been good for a community – very few.

  • Don’t live in SoHo, but I’d point out that if _more_ streets were closed, they wouldn’t all look like silly street carnivals. They would just be another street. The reason your closed streets are a mess is because there’s only about ten blocks of them, and then only half the year. So naturally it’s a freak show. If streets were closed all over Manhattan all year long, it wouldn’t be the same freak show.

  • Forever

    Jeffrey Baker – you’re right, YOU don’t live in SoHo BUT very wrong with even suggesting to close off all of Manhattan so for what the privilege? This isn’t the wild west or a State that has plenty of land to roam and party. People have a right and pay handsomely to have what everyone else has access to like their homes and, if they prefer, by car or car service or access a ride or whatever it takes. In addition, to the peace and tranquality of their homes (apartments in our cases). City sounds is one thing but this is beyond. Think outside your box. You may learn something and respect others space.

  • Davis

    #35 hits the nail on the head. Prince Street is no a residential street and SoHo residents are a small minority of Prince Street’s users.

  • Larry Littlefield

    (soho is not primarily a residential neighborhood)

    Aye, there’s the rub. To the Soho Alliance and many others living there, Soho is an exclusive, low-density residential neighborhood. To the rest of the metro area, it is part of the Manhattan CBD.

    You would think that someone moving to the center of Manhattan would do so because they wanted to be at the center of the action. But in this case, it isn’t true.

    I brought up the “certified artist” item because zoning is essential to the Soho attitude. It is zoned industrial, and every other business and every other person there is either there by special permission (you’re OK, but not the inferior others) or there illegally (we won’t report you, just so long as you don’t cause trouble).

    The one thing that is enforced is the minimum housing unit size that, given the prestigious location, limits residency to very affluent people, and unless they are certified artists, very affluent people who think rules don’t apply to them.

    Soho, Noho and Tribeca have about the only suburban-style “exclusionary zoning” in NYC. The original idea is that only artists are allowed in the neighborhood, and only if they have joint live-work quarters, which logically must be large. The large size was, I guess, thought of as a way to discourage people from just living there. This whole thing was cooked up in the early 1970s, and let’s say has been overtaken by events.

    Why not adjust the zoning to make legal what Soho actually is? Retail on the ground floor, a mix of residences, businesses, and residence-based businesses above? Just mentioning it is enough to bring forth an accusation of wanting to destroy the unique character of Soho.

  • Timmy

    Aaron, your bio on this site says the following: “Naparstek lives in Brooklyn with his wife and two sons. He is a founder of the Park Slope Neighbors community group and an organizer of the Grand Army Plaza Coalition.” I also note that Larry Littlefield lives in Brooklyn. Why aren’t you working to block off part of 4th Avenue in Park Slope as a trial project? I’m sure it’s because you don’t want these kinds of projects actually happening in front of your own residence.

    #27 this will clearly lower property values. In fact, I bet that some of the properties along Prince will drop by double digit amounts.

  • Forever

    Davis (39), Larry (40)
    I don’t understand what your comments have to do with closing an entire section in lower Manhattan which will cause horrendous traffic and health problems that we already have with the excessive street closings on Mulberry Street.
    No one ever said that SoHo is purely a residential area. In fairness, many of the “artists” in SoHo moved into that area when it was a dive, living in poor conditions and who eventually turned it around. Now, of course, like everywhere in lower Manhattan (look at the Financial District if it can still be called that) you have your rich brats from the outer boroughs and states coming in acting as if they are “true
    Manhattanites”, which they are not, wanting to make changes that suit them. Actually, they’re just pains in the butt with their cold, it’s all about me, attitudes. They should just go back and let us live in peace. Why does there have to be that element of jealousy always thrown into the challenges that living in these areas have. We, the residents in these areas, are merely striving for a fair and responsible balance between the businesses and the residents – that’s it. That’s not asking for much. Visit, obey the law, go home or move in among us instead of always trying to change where we live to suit the visitors/tourist which is the case now.

    Just stick to the point.

  • According to the latest census figures and a survey the SoHo Alliance conducted with Columbia University Graduate School of City Planning and Architecture, there are 10,000 residents in SoHo. Ten thousand!

    For every business location, there are approximately six (6) residential locations. A 6 to 1 ratio! Sounds like a primarily residential neighborhood to me.

    The average tenant is not wealthy ($50K per annum), because most of the ‘starving artists’ remain; their rent is stabilized. Who would move from a 2ooo square-foot loft which costs $1000 per month? Co-op owners don’t move because they are sitting on a gold mine and face high capital gains tax should they sell.

    The Columbia Study revealed that most of the residents have lived here for over twenty(20) years. Many are artists and the remainder are legally ‘grandfathered’.

    Likely this is news to most people on this blog who get their facts from the NY Times Style or Real Estate Section.

    Drop your bias, come to one of our meetings and observe the real folk who live here, not the media image. We are a notoriously progressive, environmentally–friendly neighborhood.

    Having created this neighborhood, we know what is best for it. Certainly not a blogger in Brooklyn or a faceless DOT employee. Certainly not the hired-gun, paid traffic consultant from Brooklyn and current DOT employee who came up with this cockamamie idea!

    Furthermore, to #35, who works for DOT, can’t you read?

    In the first paragraph of this post, Mr. Naparstek clearly states that this proposal emerged from discussions between DOT and the SoHo Partnership.
    Why would you try to con streetsblog readers? Oh, I forgot. You work for DOT.

    In fact, Mr. Naparstek is correct. As a member of the SoHo Partnership Advisory Board, I spoke to the founder of the Partnership yesterday, who confirmed to me that last month DOT APPROACHED HIM FOR SUPPORT. (He believes it was Manhattan Borough Commissioner Margaret Forgione, although he never wrote down her name at the meeting.) However, the tax laws prevent the 501 c-3 (charity) Partnership from taking positions that are of a 501 c-4 (advocacy) nature.

    But why would DOT let the truth get in the way of a good story?

    Perhaps, Mr. Naparstek would be gracious enough to reveal to his readers how he knew that DOT met with the Partnership’s founder, since I did not know of this private meeting, nor did the Partnership’s Executive Director (who is vehemently opposed to this silly street-closing plan by DOT).

    Aaron, how DID you get this piece of privy information, may I ask?

    To all others, if you want street closings, fine. Go to DOT and your community board and give it a try.

    But judging from the Washington Place residents’ resistance and the opposition from the people who live in Little Italy, you will find that most New Yorkers do not want police barricades at the end of their blocks and tourists lounging on their stoops and doorways.

    I would go so far as to respectfully suggest that the DOT Manhattan Borough Commissioner try a pilot program of closing the street IN FRONT OF HER HOME, and see what reaction she gets from HER neighbors.

    Anything less is hypocrisy.

  • Timmy,

    Fourth Avenue in Brooklyn would make a lousy car-free street but “Summer Sunday’s on 7th” was a project that had some traction in Park Slope a few years back.

  • Angus Grieve-Smith

    However, the tax laws prevent the 501 c-3 (charity) Partnership from taking positions that are of a 501 c-4 (advocacy) nature.

    I am not a lawyer, but I’m pretty sure that the “advocacy” prohibition is restricted to campaigns for electoral candidates and legislation. They do not prohibit 501(c)3 organizations from advocating a particular policy. If they did, the Reason Foundation wouldn’t be able to advocate covering New York with highways.

  • Angus,

    If a non-profit is registered as a charity, it cannot advocate for safe streets, or dangerous streets.

    I am quite familiar with this and have no idea what Reason Fndn. has filed with IRS.

    Check out IRS regs on the web.

  • I’m not sure what the goal of the SoHo Alliance is here on streetsblog. You’re certainly not winning over any supporters by insulting the readers of SB and anyone that doesn’t live in SoHo and agree with your position, in fact you’re taking away from your arguments by doing so. And if you’re not winning supporters all you are doing is fueling the fire for folks to come and support the closure, where otherwise they might not think much of it. You catch more flies with honey than name calling (flies don’t have ears).

    Also Transportation Alternatives is a non-profit 501(c)(3), and I’m pretty sure they are advocates for safe streets.

  • Born & Raised NYC

    Heffron, I’m a SB reader (not at all because I support the so-called “Liveable Streets” agenda; but because I grew up on these streets, and still live here) and the SoHo Alliance is gaining favor with me!
    Streetsblog should embrace diversity and all (non abusive) viewpoints/comments IMO.

  • Larry Littlefield

    (I also note that Larry Littlefield lives in Brooklyn. Why aren’t you working to block off part of 4th Avenue in Park Slope as a trial project?)

    Fourth Avenue is a heavily trafficked 6 lane arterial.

    But Fifth Avenue! I’m sure the merchants would object, but I wonder what share of their customers come by car. They might lose a few, but many others would come out of their way to go there, perhaps diverted from Soho.

    The buses would move, the bike lanes would be safer. Perhaps the buses and bikes could share the one moving lane in each direction, and the sidewalks could be extended out where the parking lane is.

    Trucks could be allowed to park on that portion of the sidewalk before 11 am weekdays, with curb cuts up. Then the sidewalk tables and mimes could take their place!

  • Larry Littlefield

    BTW, I have suggested at least trying this on weekends from May to October.

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