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Fans Rushing to La Marina Restaurant Spark Traffic Gridlock, Locals Say

By  Farran Powell and Carla Zanoni | August 23, 2012 10:57am 

A Local resident snaps a picture of congested traffic on Dyckman street on Sunday, Aug. 19, near the popular La Marina restaurant.
A Local resident snaps a picture of congested traffic on Dyckman street on Sunday, Aug. 19, near the popular La Marina restaurant.
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Facebook/Alan Winokur

UPPER MANHATTAN — Great reviews have led to grinding gridlock at the city's newest waterfront restaurant.

Regional acclaim for La Marina, a wildly popular eatery along the Hudson River that opened in May, has meant traffic congestion, noise and a general sense of mayhem along the already popular and controversial strip of Dyckman Street, residents and community leaders say. 

"Everyone can agree we have a serious problem here," said Inwood resident Margaret Blowen, 38, who has lived on Staff Street for 14 years. "La Marina is a victim of its own success."

Despite the restaurant's effort to alleviate traffic pressure with its valet parking system and a deal with private parking lot for overflow, traffic is snarling along Dyckman all the way to the edge of the exit ramp for the Henry Hudson Parkway on weekends.

The DOT, which surveys areas for traffic patterns, said it's holding discussions with the NYPD and local businesses, including La Marina, a spokesperson from NYC's DOT said. At least eight traffic police have been assigned to the area Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, according to the NYPD.  

The Parks Department, which granted a concessionaire contract to the restaurant's owner Manhattan River Group, has met with the developer and the 34th Precinct about potential solutions, according to Parks spokesman Philip Abramson. The department did not indicate what specific initiatives are planned. 

The Manhattan River Group did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Officials from Community Board 12, which worked with the developer to address community issues before La Marina's opening, did not respond to requests for comment. 

"One would hope that a creative solution could be developed," wrote Sara Pyle on a Facebook group who said the traffic last Sunday snaked all the way back to Riverside and to the Henry Hudson exit ramp.

Both City Councilmen Robert Jackson and Ydanis Rodriguez also said they are planning to meet again with the 34th Precinct and community leaders this week to reevaluate the traffic impact, according to the leader's spokespeople.

"I understand and personally empathize with the residents of Dyckman Street and the surrounding area," Rodriguez said earlier this month.

The restaurant — originally presented as a seasonal establishment — will be open all year.