Construction Plans in Chatham SquareJan who has been a long time customer and fan of CICF is also a well known community activist. He has always kept me in the loop of what is going on. So the latest news now is that there are plans demolish Chatham Square and complete redirect traffic flow on almost all the streets coming into the square. Why is this a big deal? Because the city wants to push through plans without getting consent of the people in the neighborhood. Many Chinatown organizations feel that the public hearings on the plans are being held so close to the release of the information and during the Thanksgiving and Christmas vacation times for many people, that there is not possibly enough time to review the data. In Jan's words, "The way the information is being released is almost to keep people out of the loop of what is going on." Construction in Chinatown is usually always terrible unless it is very well planned out. For the businesses as well as for the residents. As is, Chinatown has an overwhelming population with narrow streets. Many of our busiest streets are one lane. Several businesses in lower Manhattan, particularly around Ground Zero constructiuon sites have gone out of business because of prolonged street construction. Many waited for years for LMDC compensation which came too late, or was not enough to sustain them.
The businesses here suffer when it is difficult to receive or complete their deliveries. When the streets are hard to navigate, customers stay away from the Chinatown area all together.
Another problem is that Chinatown has a large elderly population. It is hard for ambulances and emergency vehicles to navigate with ease. These people are our family members, friends, and neighbors. We would like to them to be cared for as soon as possible in the event of an emergency.
During 1999, there was construction done on the water main in which they had to dig up the street. When it is unpleasant to commute to the area because roads are under construction, businesses go out. During this time many businesses had gone under.
Right now we are in midst of postponing construction until the public has been notified about all the details.