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DOT Parking Study Will Examine Chinatown's Traffic Problems

By Patrick Hedlund

DNAinfo News Editor

LOWER EAST SIDE — The city is launching a comprehensive traffic study focusing on curbside space in Chinatown and the larger Lower East Side to help combat congestion on the area's gridlocked streets.

The study, led by the Department of Transportation and made possible through nearly $750,000 in funding from Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, will analyze curbside parking practices in the bustling area as a way to improve traffic flow and issues facing local businesses.

Short-term solutions include the reconfiguration of curbside space for businesses or residential parking, including the possible adjustment of meters or rates.

The study will hone in on 20 high-impact blocks where trial improvements could occur, leading up to full implementation next year, the DOT said.

"This study will help identify ways to improve the flow of traffic in the Lower East Side," said Congresswoman Velázquez in a statement.

"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."

Issues that led to the study include rampant double-parking on the area's already jam-packed streets, forcing cars to circle the neighborhood and create more traffic, as well as the currently unregulated Chinatown bus industry.

The Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association and Asian American Federation will help conduct the study, which will utilize a bilingual online portal for users to follow and comment on the project.

The DOT noted that roll-out of the study begins this month.