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Fix Noisy Congestion on Clinton and Grand Street, Locals Beg City

 Cars waiting to enter the Williamsburg Bridge line up down Clinton Street.
Cars waiting to enter the Williamsburg Bridge line up down Clinton Street.
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DNAinfo/Allegra Hobbs

LOWER EAST SIDE — Locals living near the narrow, congested intersection of Clinton and Grand streets are begging the city to fix the permanent traffic jam that leads up to the Williamsburg Bridge — where they say frustrated drivers threaten the safety of pedestrians and bike riders alike.

Community Board 3's Transportation Committee on Wednesday passed a resolution imploring the Department of Transportation to re-evaluate the traffic flow in hopes the agency will identify some solutions to the loud and dangerous conditions.

"They're all honking their horns and they're all violating the signals," CB3 board member Linda Jones said at Wednesday's meeting. "You take your life in your hands if you try to cross it."

In a letter submitted by neighbor Andrew Einhorn and read aloud at the meeting by CB3 committee chair Chad Marlow, Einhorn wrote, "There is no way to shut out the noise. It was like being stabbed over and over."

Seward Park Co-op resident Matthew Marello shared video footage taken after midnight showing honking cars lined up down Grand Street all the way to the FDR Drive, waiting to turn right onto Clinton Street so they can enter the bridge. 

The video shows cars turning illegally from Grand Street's left lane into the bike lane on Clinton Street, which is used by both cyclists and pedestrians while the sidewalk on the west side is closed due to construction.

Marello said he has observed the pile-up at its worst between 10 p.m. and 1 a.m., when the horn-honking becomes excessive and it is increasingly dangerous for pedestrians to make it across the street.

District Manager Susan Stetzer said the board has received many complaints about the conditions, which has worsened with the ongoing construction at the neighboring Essex Crossing site on Clinton Street, and may become even more hazardous with the influx of new residents slated to flock to the neighborhood with the completion of the developent.

"I think this is a huge problem and it's only going to get worse with Essex Crossing, because you are bringing so many more people," she said.

Though there are other ways of accessing the bridge entrance from Grand Street, the vehicles tend to funnel through Clinton Street despite being the roadway being extremely narrow and ill-equipped to handle all the traffic, board members noted.

The board is now calling on the DOT to quickly implement improvements to reduce congestion on Grand Street and to re-examine the network funneling traffic through Clinton Street.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Transportation said the agency would work with the community to identify potential solutions to the problem.

"We look forward to reviewing the resolution and working with the community on potential changes in the area," said the spokeswoman.