Fort Greene

Agency: Big chaos needs big fix at Flatbush, Atlantic and Fourth Avenues

City Department of Transportation Unveils Proposal to Ease Dangers at Heavily-Trafficked Downtown Brooklyn Crossing

August 8, 2016 By James Harney Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Looking East from Times Plaza at the intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues. Photo by Monique Baron

One good turn deserves another. And so does one good median, and one good bike lane, and one good crosswalk.

So said representatives of the city Department of Transportation at a public workshop hosted by the agency last week to solicit local input on how to make the busy convergence of Atlantic, Flatbush and Fourth avenues safer for motorists, pedestrians and cyclists.

The agency convened the Aug. 3 meeting at the YWCA on Third Avenue to “gather input and discuss safety enhancements for Flatbush Avenue from Atlantic Ave to Lafayette and Third Ave.”

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But while it entertained suggestions from local residents and activists, the DOT also took the opportunity to unveil its own wide-ranging proposal, which called for sweeping reconfigurations at virtually every corner of the site.

In their full-color presentation, DOT officials displayed photos that graphically displayed intensely-heavy rush-hour traffic along Atlantic and Flatbush outside the Barclays Center arena, the Atlantic Terminal Long Island Rail Road station and  shopping mall; often-heavy curbside congestion alongside the mall and the station entrances and the wide, uninterrupted crosswalks between the arena, the mall and the Times Plaza pedestrian triangle, and too-few connected bike lanes through the area.

The mix of intersections has become one of the most hazardous in the borough, with recent city statistics showing that 78 pedestrians and bicyclists were struck — and 13 killed or seriously injured — at the location between 2010 and 2014. During the same period, the records show, 289 motorists were injured in crashes at the location, with 12 killed or seriously injured.

And in the first six months of 2015, the NYPD recorded 150 vehicle crashes at Atlantic and Flatbush.

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The DOT’s proposal included plans for:

·       Installing medians in the middle of Flatbush, Atlantic and Fourth avenues and Schermerhorn Street, and “enhancing” bike lanes between Schermerhorn Street and Lafayette Avenue.

·        Extending the sidewalk on Fourth Avenue approaching Atlantic Avenue.

·       Widening the roadway alongside Times Plaza to reserve space for a potential bike lane.

·       Establishing a new crosswalk across Atlantic Avenue to Barclays Center.

·       Removing the double right turn from eastbound Atlantic Avenue onto Flatbush, and removing the double right turn from westbound Atlantic Avenue onto Flatbush.

·       Matching the number of moving traffic lanes through the Atlantic and Flatbush intersection to eliminate the need for traffic to merge.

 

The DOT’s presentation was not the only concept floated at last week’s workshop; numerous other residents and local groups brought their own ideas.

Transportation architect Jonathan Cohn suggested that the Flatbush-Atlantic-Fourth Avenue intersection be turned into a roundabout, not unlike the current configuration at Grand Army Plaza.

Such a redesign would create shorter crosswalks and would force vehicular traffic to move more slowly through the area, said Cohn, a Park Slope resident and a transportation architect at Perkins Eastman, and fellow roundabout advocate Michael Cairl of the Park Slope Civic Council.

Armed with community input and its own proposal, the DOT’s next stop in its quest for a safer Atlantic-Flatbush-Times Plaza nexus will be the local community boards representing the area.


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