VICTORY!!! Verrazano Bridge 2-Way Tolls to be Restored; W Bdwy to Remain Open

Two-way Verrazano Toll to be Restored, Finally; Traffic Volume/Accidents in SoHo to Shrink Dramatically
Jersey City Retailer Withdraws Application to Close W. Bdwy for Loud Rock Band and Promo
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Verrazano Bridge Tolls to be Restored
                    Decades of Activism Pays Off

In 1986, at the behest of Staten Islanders who complained of long lines of cars queuing to pay the tolls on the Verrazano Bridge, Republican congressman Guy Molinari enabled Federal legislation that eliminated the eastbound bridge toll but doubled the toll for westbound traffic
To avoid the double toll, vehicles to New Jersey began using the Holland Tunnel, which is free westbound.  
Within weeks, traffic intended for interstate highways doubled and traffic speeds were cut in half on Broome and Canal Streets. Gridlock and horn-honking became endemic.
Traffic deaths and injuries rose dramatically along Broome, Kenmare and Canal Streets. Millions of dollars in lost MTA tolls were forfeited annually and close to a billion dollars in revenue lost since the one-way toll began. Auto emissions and asthma rates on Canal soon ranked among the worse in the city.  
Immediately the SoHo Alliance sued in State Supreme Court to restore two-way tolls until an environmental impact statement could be formulated.
We did not prevail legally, so we turned to political agitation. We lobbied our Congressman Jerry Nadler for help. We got Senator Schumer involved, to no avail.
We asked Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver at the height of his influence for assistance. The all-powerful Silver told us we had no chance of restoring the tolls.
We reached out to Transportation Alternatives whose stated goal is to “reclaim city streets from the automobile” and the organization told us the two-way toll would never be restored. 
As long as Republican politicians ruled in Staten Island, we were held hostage to Staten Island NIMBYs.  
None of this stopped us. For decades, the SoHo Alliance made its point never to prevent this inequity from being forgotten.
We demonstrated on Broome Street with Comptroller Scott Stringer.  We badgered the Transportation Department for traffic agents. We buttonholed Nadler and Schumer at every opportunity.
But It took the 2018 elections for a Democrat, Max Rose, to be elected the new Staten Island congressman. 
Nadler recently got his fellow Democrat to agree to a provision in this year’s Appropriations bill to restore the two-way toll. There will no longer be a financial incentive for truckers and motorists to use the Holland Tunnel.
The bill is widely expected to pass but it will take about a year to receive the money and to reconfigure the toll plazas. 
SoHo has finally prevailed after four decades of persistent lobbying and action.  Thanks to all of you who have worked with us on this issue and special thanks to Congressman Nadler for never giving up. 

Jersey City Retailer Withdraws Application to Close West Broadway for Loud Rock Band and Store Promo
Three weeks ago we alerted you to a request by a Jersey City multinational retailer to close down both West Broadway street and sidewalk from 9am to 11:30 pm to promote their SoHo store, along with a live, amplified rock band. Scores of you responded with emails to the community board to nix this silly and intrusive marketing scheme.
The retailer got the message and withdrew the request for closing the street to traffic, withdrew the request for the rock band, and will be satisfied with stanchions to permit pedestrian passage on the sidewalk.
Thanks to all of you who responded.
Sincerely,

Sean Sweeney Director

SoHo Alliance PO Box 429 New York, NY 10012 212-353-8466 info@sohoalliance.orgsohoalliance.org
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Jersey City Fashionistas Want to Close Down SoHo

A Jersey City retailer has applied to the City for a permit to:
– fully close the West Broadway street and sidewalk between Broome and Grand Streets on Tuesday, June 11 for an entire day – from 9:00 am until 11:30 pm – invite between “200 to 499” attendees to their “fashion launch”- solicit “celebrities, VIP, media and influencers” (their words, not ours)  to “advertise” and “brand” this start-up business on our public sidewalk and street    – usurp our sidewalks with a “red carpet, rope and/or stanchions” – with a dozen hired security guards to control the expected mob scene – blast out amplified music from a live rock band- construct a “10-foot high speaker tower” to spread the racket all over SoHo- construct “a stage, press platform and scaffolding” to accommodate the band and the publicity event- sell or distribute food and beverages (who cleans up the mess?)
They admit in writing the event will be “LARGE”.  
When asked by the City to summarize their application, the promoters had the chutzpah to declare, in bold: “No conflicts detected.” 
Well let’s change that.
Not only will this publicity stunt be an incredible inconvenience to West Broadway residents and businesses, the effect on Downtown traffic is incalculable.  West Broadway receives not only TriBeCa and Holland Tunnel traffic, but also Greenwich Village traffic back and forth.  Think daylong gridlock.
Closing West Broadway for an entire day will force cars and trucks onto the side streets.  Spring and Prince, Thompson and Sullivan, as well as Wooster, Greene and Mercer all will be part of the congested mess.
What can you do?
The applicant will appear tonight in front of the Quality-of-Life Committee of Community Board 2 at 6:30 at NYU Silver Building, 32 Waverly Place, just east of Washington Square Park.   
Please attend to ward off this and any similar future fiascos.  Demand the City reject completely this outrageous proposal.  Bodies count.  (Our apologies for the late notice.  We had an internet outage.)
If you cannot attend, please email your objection to the SoHo Alliance at info@sohoalliance.org and we shall forward your opposition to the City agencies that decide on this application.  
Your statement need not be lengthy.  The more objections the City receives, the more likely it will be to deny this shameless request. Please forward this to your friends and neighbors.  Thank you.

Sincerely,

Sean SweeneyDirector

SoHo AlliancePO Box 429New York, NY 10012212-353-8466info@sohoalliance.orgsohoalliance.org

The Elizabeth Street Garden needs you!

The Elizabeth Street Garden needs you! Attend the City Council hearing on Thursday and speak in OPPOSITION to the Haven Green application that will decimate our garden. 
If you cannot stay for the full hearing, hand in your written statement before you leave. Speaker cards are counted for and against. The number of people who speak on either side of an issue can shift City Council’s position by appealing to members of the committee.

  1. Arrive at 12:30 p.m. to allow time go through security.
  2. Wear green and bring a sign no larger than 8.5 x 11 inches.
  3. Prepare comments up to two minutes long and sign up to speak in opposition.
  4. Bring written testimony (no limit on length) to submit and email a copy to friends@elizabethstreetgarden.org

New York City Council Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Siting and Maritime Uses
Thursday, May 2, 1 p.m. sign-up to testify
New York City Hall, Council Chambers
City Hall Park, New York, NY 10007
Enter at Broadway and Murray Street
By Subway: W/R to City Hall, 6 to Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall
Sincerely,

Sean SweeneyDirector

SoHo AlliancePO Box 429New York, NY 10012212-353-8466info@sohoalliance.orgsohoalliance.org