Pierson says unsafe northern Brooklyn streets need overhaul

July 31, 2013 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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Many of the streets in northern Brooklyn are too dangerous for pedestrians to cross, according to a City Council candidate who said the roadways are failing to “meet the needs of many residents.” Stephen Pierson, who is running against incumbent Stephen Levin (D-Greenpoint-Williamsburg) in the Sept. 10 Democratic Primary for the seat in the 33rd Council District, has released a nine-point transportation plan he said will improve public safety.

“Despite some recent improvements, the 33rd district’s transportation system fails to meet the needs of many residents, and there are still far too many streets in our community where I feel unsafe using crosswalks with my two-year-old daughter. We need to make sweeping changes, which is exactly what I will do in the City Council,” Pierson said.

The district’s entire transportation structure needs an overhaul, Pierson said. He cited problems with the G train and criticized conditions on Atlantic Avenue and McGuinness Boulevard as being “alarmingly dangerous.” Pierson also lamented the lack of bike routes in northern Brooklyn, and said trucks run roughshod over Williamsburg and Greenpoint, making crossing the streets a dangerous proposition.

His plan includes establishing more “Neighborhood Slow Zones” in the council district. Under the New York City Department of Transportation’s (DOT) “Neighborhood Slow Zones” program, the speed limit is dropped from 30 mph to 20 mph. The DOT also installs a variety of safety measures, including speed bumps. A Slow Zone was established in the Boerum Hill part of the district.

Pierson said he would advocate for slow zones to be established in Williamsburg, Greenpoint, Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO/Vinegar Hill.

Truck traffic is a major problem in northern Brooklyn, Pierson said. The violation of through-routes has led to dangerous, noisy and polluting truck traffic, he said.

The Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE) is the only legal “through truck route” that passes through north Brooklyn. All other streets, like McGuinness Boulevard, Greenpoint Avenue and Kent Avenue, only allow for trucks that make local deliveries. But Pierson said many truck drivers cut through North Brooklyn to either avoid BQE traffic, or circumvent the Long Island Expressway/BQE junction. “This needs to be stopped immediately by setting up enforcement stations and putting up signage,” he said.

Pierson also called for the immediate expansion of the city’s bike share program to Greenpoint to offer a transportation alternative for local residents. The G train and local bus lines don’t provide enough service, he charged.

Pierson, a member of Community Board 2 in Brooklyn, is the publisher of Canteen, an arts and literary magazine. He is also the founder of Canteen Arts, an after-school program in Harlem.

For more information on his transportation plan, visit www.piersonforcouncil.com/transportation.


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