By Andrea Swalec
GREENWICH VILLAGE — Hold your horses!
The city should install a stop sign or speed bump at the intersection of Christopher Street and Waverly Place in Greenwich Village before someone gets hurt, local businesses and residents say.
Restaurateur Adam Benedetto says he has watched the mayhem for two years as pedestrians dodge speeding cars.
"Every day there's either an accident or a near miss," said Benedetto, general manager of the restaurant Jeffrey's Grocery. "People are going way too fast on Christopher Street."
To try to make the intersection safer, Benedetto has started a petition for changes on Christopher Street east of Waverly Place. He's collected 200 signatures so far.
The main problem at the intersection is drivers speeding toward Seventh Avenue and trying to decide whether to turn onto Grove Street or continue on Christopher. The problem is compounded by the fact that Waverly Place dumps even more cars into the same intersection.
Benedetto contacted Christine Quinn's office two weeks ago to tell them about the problem, and they told him to contact the Department of Transportation, he said. He said he's been happy with the city's responsiveness thus far.
Quinn's office confirmed that they directed Benedetto to DOT and said they are committed to safety in Greenwich Village.
“We appreciate when community members recognize ways to create the most pedestrian-friendly neighborhood possible," Quinn's statement said.
The DOT did not immediately return calls for comment.
Beth Salvini, 30, co-owner of Greenwich Letterpress, which is a few doors west of Jeffrey's, says she will definitely sign the petition.
"I see someone doing something dangerous here every day. We all complain about this all the time," she said.
Greenwich Village resident and Joseph Leonard patron John McNulty, 35, was skeptical that a speed bump alone would solve the problem.
"I don't know if it's going to help that much," he said. "People will just slow down for it and then speed up again as soon as they go over it. They should just put in a stop light."
Nearly three-quarters of crashes in which pedestrians were killed or severely injured in 2009 occurred at intersections, according to the DOT's August 2010 Pedestrian Safety Study & Action Plan.