Residents demand safety improvements following pedestrian death at Ocean Parkway and Church Avenue

June 28, 2013 Editorial Staff
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The dangerous Church Avenue and Ocean Parkway intersection has once again taken another life last week on Monday, June 24, 2013.

Seventy-three year old Ngozi Agbim was struck and killed by a semi truck at the intersection as she was walking home from attending a church service.

Agbum’s brother-in-law, Eugene Agbimson, said he hopes that “Her death, like her life, is now a beacon – a rallying point of change.”

However, this is not the first time that change for this major intersection has been emphasized upon and demanded in the Kensington community.

In 2011, neighborhood residents voted in Councilmember Brad Lander’s Participatory Budgeting election to assign $200,000 in safety upgrades at the intersection. Unfortunately, that money has not been issued into effect yet because the New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) has not approved a plan from the city DOT that would make it safer to cross.

“We voted for this money,” said Julie Bero of Kensington. “We should be able to cross this intersection safely and New York State Department of Transportation should make it a priority.”

Between 1995 and 2008, there were 36 pedestrian and cyclist injuries and four fatalities, according to Transportation Alternatives’ CrashStat, at the Church Avenue-Ocean Parkway intersection.

“From 2008-2011, six pedestrians were killed along Ocean Parkway, making it the most deadly road for pedestrians in Brooklyn,” said Ryan Lynch, associate director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign.

The city DOT has proposed building a pedestrian refuge island between northbound and southbound traffic at the intersection, to give pedestrians a safe space when crossing the nine-lane street with the available $200,000.

The state DOT rejected this proposal, and instead proposed eliminating the crosswalk entirely. Without the crosswalk, residents would have to walk a block out of their way and wait for three crossing signals instead of one.

Lander responded to this compromised proposal, saying, “New York State DOT’s proposal is unacceptable. It would make this intersection even more dangerous. Our neighborhood is not a highway.”

Members of the community can petition and press for a safety solution at: http://bit.ly/Church-Ocean.


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