A new neighborhood association targets the Holland Tunnel traffic

After neighbors surrounding the Holland Tunnel ramps gathered this past June to beautify their blocks and add some greenery, they all got to talking. And sharing notes. And talking some more. And coming back to one critical issue: traffic.

And so a new organization has been born: the working name is the Tribeca North Neighborhood Association, but this is just the very beginning of what folks hope will be a way to leverage change in the area.

“It’s nascent for sure but it seems like it’s overdue,” says Jared Sheer, who has been spreading the word building by building to get people together. “The traffic situation has gotten quite unbearable and pretty unsafe.”

Their first stop as a group: Community Board 1’s Quality of Life Committee meeting tomorrow (Thursday) night at 7p, where the committee will discuss traffic enforcement around the tunnel. (Log on here if you want to participate.)

They are looking for both short-term and long-term solutions. First they are just hoping to stop traffic from blocking the box; keeping the crosswalks open; keeping the lanes open on the east side of Hudson so emergency vehicles can access the easternmost stretch of Vestry and Laight. In the long-term, there’s signage, overall traffic reduction, solutions for better flow. (Neighbors have now seen it all: motorcycles on the sidewalks, cars driving down one-way streets, fistfights on Hudson.)

“The real issue with the traffic is safety more than anything,” says Sheer. “We know what we signed up for living over here, and there will always be traffic and quality of life issues, but this is just beyond. It’s almost as if they are waiting for something terrible to happen to do something about it.”

This group first gathered to plant trees around the perimeter of the Holland Tunnel ramps, an effort they put together with the help of architects Dasha Khapalova and Peter Ballman, who have created a plan for St. John’s Park. Sheer spread the word for that through friends and managing agents, and those folks drew in others. They now have 10 buildings connected through the organization and have a preliminary idea for the boundaries: Canal to N. Moore; West Street to the west side of Varick.

Even in that specific box, there are 120 residential buildings and 12 commercial ones, which means this could be just the start of a big voting bloc. So far there is no formal meeting schedule but if folks want to join in, register your info here at www.tribecanorth.org.

In the meantime, car traffic is way up in the city: before the pandemic, 23 percent of trips into the Central Business District (south of 60th) were by personal vehicle. Now it’s 35 percent. The Port Authority added plastic bollards to Hudson to keep the left lane of the street open, but drivers are still trying to dodge and weave. The NYPD had a traffic officer on Laight and Hudson for about six weeks, but that was it.

“My read is no one wants the responsibility,” said Sheer. “It’s easy to throw your hands in the air and say this is more than one agency can handle. There are major improvements that could happen at some point, but for now we would be happy with just a Band-Aid. It’s never going to be perfect, but it has to be improved.”

Postscript: The tree planting effort that started in June had a goal of 12 trees, but half of those have been locked in a stalemate between the Port Authority, who owns the land, and the Parks Department, who plants the trees. More TK on that.



  1. Huge issue in that part of the neighborhood. Nearly impossible to cross Hudson at rush hour.

  2. By the way, those plastic bollards are a real hazard to bikers during non rush hours, as northbound non-tunnel traffic is forced into the two left hand lanes, one of which is usually blocked by parked cars and trucks. This mean cyclists are forced to share one lane with cars, trucks and buses speeding north to make the light on Canal Street.

    And forget trying to bike up Hudson at all from the mid afternoon until 6 or 7 PM…

  3. Laight Street (where the tunnel exits on the west wide) has become a dangerous freeway with cars driving 60 miles per hour, often running through the stop sign at Greenwich Street. What is the potential to add speed bumps and cameras to slow this down? There have been a number of accidents and near-accidents involving pedestrians.

  4. If only there were a pricing scheme proposed to reduce street congestion…

  5. ” hoping to stop traffic from blocking the box; keeping the crosswalks open…”

    This should simply be enforced throughout the entire city. I don’t get it. The city always cries poor. Actually enforcing laws and ticketing for all these traffic offenses would be a multiple-win: better traffic flow; safer streets; less horn-honking and road rage; income for the city; etc.

  6. $100 Block the Box tickets and more traffic cops at peak hours will generate a lot of money and improve the flow.

  7. Why are the NYPD from 1st Precinct not handing out traffic summons for the block the box offenders and the e-bikes and CITI bikes that are on the sidewalks?