LOWER EAST SIDE — The city on Monday unveiled a new crosswalk and traffic lights to a stretch of Clinton Street that locals complained had posed a danger to pedestrians — particularly elderly neighbors — who would opt to either dodge the two-way traffic or trek down the block to the closest crosswalk.
The new crossing point now stands midway between East Broadway and Grand Street, connecting the Grand Street Guild housing complex and the Seward Park Cooperative — finally providing safe passage for neighbors who often braved the unprotected thoroughfare to shop at the nearby Fine Fare Supermarket, said a rep for the Grand Street Guild residents.
"There's a lot of seniors, and there's a supermarket here," said Daisy Paez, president of the Grand Street Guild Tenant Association, who joined the Department of Transportation and elected officials in cutting a ribbon at the new crossing. "It's very dangerous. Putting this intersection here will give cars the ability to stop and and let the people cross over."
Paez, who has lived in the neighborhood for all 60 years of her life, said she herself had often felt unsafe crossing the street, and would often opt to walk down to a crosswalk at Grand Street for peace of mind.
"It's very dangerous to cross in the middle of ongoing traffic like this," she said. "You would have no choice but to walk to the end."
DOT Lower Manhattan Borough Commissioner Luis Sanchez, joining state Sen. Daniel Squadron and Councilwoman Margaret Chin, said the problem was brought to his attention during the installation of a bike lane on Clinton Street in September of last year, when many residents insisted on the need for a mid-block crossing.
Community Board 3 that month passed a resolution in support of a mid-block crosswalk, encouraging the city to act on the community's concerns.
Ten months later, after conducting traffic and pedestrian studies on the block, the department move forward in installing the mid-block crosswalk and traffic signals.
Karen Blatt, chair of the community board's transportation committee and a resident of the Seward Park Co-op, said she was thrilled to see the results of her advocacy for an intersection so close to home.
"Out of all my countless hours of community service work, this project is the most gratifying for me to see, because it affects my daily life and the daily life of my neighbors," she said.