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Curbed Wire: Sohotel Renovation Almost Done, Soho Alliance Rebels Against DOT

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SOHO?The tipster who sends the pics of the redone lobby of the Sohotel at the Bowery and Broome Streets reports "Sohotel lobby renovations almost complete. Scaffolds coming down in a week. Facade is complete. The building is supposed to be illuminated with LED lights, which should be interesting." Now, the funny thing is that when we ran an item about the reno about a year ago the tipster said the project would take "a month or so." In dog years, we guess. [CurbedWire Inbox]

SOHO?In news of an entirely different nature, the Soho Alliance is helping to organize a demonstration tomorrow against what it sees as the heavy hand of the Department of Transportation, and not just with Soho residents but "from Williamsburg's Hasidics to Gerritsen Beach residents to the Meat Market nightclub owners to Chinatown/Little Italy to the Civic Centre/Financial District area to TriBeCa - all have been steadily complaining about the autocratic and paternalistic attitude of the new Department of Transportation (DOT) commissioner, Janette Sadik-Khan. Objections in Soho include 'trendy' traffic experiments at the expense of fixing broken crosswalks.

Here's a little something something from the press release:

Just in SoHo alone:
First it was the ridiculous Broadway bus bulb-outs, the islands DOT planted in the middle of Broadway. This has reduced a broad way into a single lane of traffic, creating incredible congestion and traffic problems. For what benefit, no one knows.

Then there was the Prince Street bike lane. The SoHo Alliance worked with cycling advocates to request a protected bike-lane on Houston or Broome Streets, both wide thoroughfares. However, DOT ignored us and instead gave us a silly lane where no one in SoHo wanted it: Prince Street. That lane is underutilized by cyclists; instead it is used primarily by street peddlers and strolling tourists with the loss of 220 precious parking spaces.

The same with the new Grand Street bike-lane: installed with no input from the SoHo community. This lane is causing major congestion and gridlock, blocked FDNY and EMS trucks, as well as creating incessant horn-honking, extending to Little Italy and Chinatown. DOT's response to this problem they created: Get used to it!

This spring witnessed the DOT’s ill-fated proposal to close Prince Street to traffic on weekends that the SoHo Alliance defeated, but only after a massive turnout of between 150-200 people at the community board. This cockamamie DOT proposal would have turned SoHo into a Disneyland Mall experience for tourists.

We are demanding that the City Council investigate the DOT and establish an Oversight Committee that will make sure DOT Commissioner comes to the communities involved for our opinion first, instead of the way it works now: DOT telling us, “This is our latest experiment. Take it or leave it. Fiat accompli. If you don’t like it, tough!”

WHEN: Saturday, December 20, 1:00 p.m.
WHERE: DOT Headquarters, 40 Worth Street, between Broadway & Church

Happy weekend. [CurbedWire Inbox]