Sunset Parkers file complaints on DOT map

August 11, 2014 Heather Chin
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Eighteen months ago, the city Department of Transportation (DOT) implemented a redesign of lanes, turns, traffic lights and signage along Fourth Avenue between 17th and 65th Streets in Sunset Park—changes that were the result of a year of discussions between locals and community leaders.

On July 31, the DOT concluded another round of community feedback, this time for planned citywide Vision Zero (VZ) public safety initiatives. The meeting, held inside the Sunset Park Library, allowed residents to pinpoint exact intersections where they experienced problems with speeding, double-parking, failure to yield to pedestrians, too long or too short cross-times, poor visibility, red lights running, jaywalking and cyclist behavior.

“The Vision Zero map [received] over 10,000 comments submitted for inclusion in the city’s VZ borough safety action plans, which will be released later this year,” said the DOT on its website.

For life-long Brooklynite Tom Murphy, using the map was a first. “I’ve made complaints, but never used the maps, but one assumes other people make the same complaints,” he said at the July workshop, before deciding that he would, in fact, see what the map was all about and post some of his concerns.

“I have an issue with the DOT bike map because it lists Fourth Avenue as a bike route, but it is not,” said Murphy. “There are two phony bike lanes, though—a yellow patch on the median that is dangerous because it’s only two feet wide and next to the fast left lane—and a space between parked cars and the slow lane on the right. They should put bike lanes on Third or Fifth Avenues.”

Roxane King lives on the border of Bay Ridge and Sunset Park and came to the workshop because the crosswalk between 65th Street and Senator Street on Fourth Avenue is “a nightmare,” she said, with cars coming from different directions and little adherence to traffic lights.

Sunset Park advocate Maria Roca made sure to attend the meeting so she could point out “speeding from Seventh to Fifth Avenue on 41st Street” and problems with cars “rolling through stop signs at Sixth Avenue and 41st and 44th Streets.

“It’s not a truck route, but when 39th Street is busy, trucks go there, too,” Roca said.

For mom Martha Correa, poor visibility is a problem on 56th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, as well, because of trees blocking what she says are already-dim streetlights.

According to the DOT map data, most resident complaints were about double-parking on Fourth and Eighth Avenues, jaywalking and speeding at Third Avenue and 60th Street, poor visibility on the Fifth Avenue and 41st Street sides of the park, and speeding along the Fifth Avenue border of Green-Wood Cemetery.

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