As part of a safety initiative to protect pedestrians, motorists and bicyclists traveling around Crown Heights, Prospect Heights and Prospect Lefferts-Gardens, Borough President Eric Adams penned a letter to Department of Transportation (DOT) Brooklyn Borough Commissioner Keith Bray in April with the goal of implementing traffic-calming infrastructure in the area.
In the letter, submitted in April, Adams advocates for the DOT to perform a feasibility study on improving infrastructure along Flatbush Avenue between Grand Army Plaza and Empire Boulevard – a plan that he couples with a greater effort to advance street safety around the perimeter of Prospect Park as well as with improving the quality of life along the oasis’s eastern border.
“We need to take a common-sense approach to studying how our streets can be properly supportive and safe for all who use them, especially in our higher-trafficked areas like Prospect Park,” said Adams. “I believe Flatbush Avenue between Grand Army Plaza and Empire Boulevard is a sensible stretch for exploring and implementing traffic-calming infrastructure, and I look forward to working with DOT leadership and community members on this effort.”
While Vision Zero Priority Corridors – intersections throughout the borough that have been studied and chosen for monitoring and safety mprovement implementation due to accident and crash data – have been mapped out in each borough, some of the planned infrastructure has yet to be installed.
For instance, while speed limit signage has been updated and community outreach has been done throughout most of the priority corridors, initiatives like expanded pedestrian crossing times and modified signal timing will not be implemented until the end of 2017, according to Vision Zero Safety Action Plans.
While most of Flatbush Avenue – stretching from Floyd Bennett Field to Myrtle Avenue – has been marked with a priority corridor distinction, including several intersections near Prospect Park, local activists are still pushing for more to be done.
“This is a stretch of roadway that’s crying out for traffic-calming — a woman was struck and killed by a driver there less than two years ago,” said Eric McClure, executive director of StreetsPAC, a political action committee dedicated to improving safety, mobility and livability on New York City streets, about the portion of the thoroughfare that connects Grand Army Plaza with Empire Boulevard. “It so happens that we took speed readings there just this past Friday evening, during rush hour, and found that drivers were averaging 38.8 miles per hour, more than 50 percent above the legal New York City speed limit, with a top speed of an expressway-like 66 MPH.”
“Flatbush Avenue bisects all of Brooklyn, running from the Manhattan Bridge to the Rockaways in Queens,” added Paco Abraham, a community advocate in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. “However, far too many stretches of this corridor are plagued by speeding vehicles and poorly designed roadways. No such dangers should exist in our pedestrian city, especially beside the borough’s crown jewels of Prospect Park and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.”
In addition to penning the traffic-calming letter to DOT, Adams has been an outspoken supporter of Vision Zero and used capital budget funds to establish Connecting Residents on Safer Streets (CROSS) Brooklyn, an initiative to invest in sidewalk extensions at dangerous intersections across Brooklyn near concentrations of senior citizens.