BATTERY PARK CITY — Cars whipping around Battery Park City's streets may soon have to contend with new traffic lights and stop signs.
After residents complained about feeling unsafe crossing the neighborhood's streets, the Department of Transportation began studying three intersections — North End Avenue and Warren Street, North End Avenue and Murray Street, and South End Avenue and West Thames Street — to determine whether they need different traffic signals, a DOT official said Tuesday.
The department had studied the intersections a couple of years ago and found there was not enough traffic to warrant any changes. But since then, the area has seen more cars and more residents, said Josh Kraus, senior project manager with DOT.
"Battery Park City, like the rest of lower Manhattan, is growing," Kraus told Community Board 1's Battery Park City Committee Tuesday night. "As more people come along, it causes us to take a fresh look at the study."
The DOT will make a decision within the next few weeks about whether to upgrade from stop signs to traffic lights along North End Avenue at Warren and Murray streets, Kraus said.
The DOT is also about to begin a study of South End Avenue and West Thames Street, where north-south traffic does not currently stop. The study will take several months to complete, Kraus said.
Kraus did not yet have accident data or traffic volume information for any of the three intersections.
But residents said they have heard about more accidents recently, as the neighborhood's population has swelled and an influx of tourists and tour buses have arrived with the opening of the 9/11 Memorial.
Residents said they often see cars cutting through Battery Park City as a way of avoiding traffic on the West Side Highway, noting many cars roll through stop signs and careen around corners.
"It is not controlled at all. There are cars shooting up and down," said Linda Belfer, chairwoman of CB1's Battery Park City Committee. "Somebody's going to get hurt."
Belfer, a Gateway Plaza resident who uses a wheelchair, claimed she was hit by a truck on South End Avenue near her home last year. While she wasn't seriously hurt, she was incensed that the driver didn't even stop.
Saying that cars often ignore stop signs, Tammy Meltzer, a mother of three young children who lives in Battery Park City, suggested the DOT install speed bumps on South End Avenue instead.
"If we could get a really huge speed bump, that would force people to slow down no matter what," Meltzer said.
Other residents suggested additional stop signs or traffic lights on West Thames Street, Battery Place and River Terrace.
Kraus said the DOT would look into the residents' requests.