Park Slope

After Park Slope tragedy, de Blasio pushes for pedestrian safety and reinstallation of speed-cameras

Mayor announces plan to redesign Ninth Street in Park Slope

May 31, 2018 By Gordon Walker Special to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle
A pedestrian stops to view the memorial at the Park Slope corner where two children lost their lives on March 5. Eagle file photo by Paula Katinas

Mayor Bill de Blasio has called on the state legislature Thursday to immediately reauthorize, but also expand, the life-saving program that is in danger of expiring at the end of this month in Albany.

De Blasio also intends to redesign the layout of Ninth Street in Brooklyn, where Dorothy Bruns, who is facing up to 15 years in jail, fatally ran over Abigail Blumenstein, 4, and Joshua Lew, 1, injuring their mothers, one of whom was pregnant and ended up losing her baby in the 39th week.

“We are doing our part with a redesign of Ninth Street to reduce speeding and make it safer,” de Blasio said. “Now we need Albany to do its part. We need school zone speed camera legislation extended and expanded immediately to prevent future tragedies on our streets. Speed cameras save lives,” he added.

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The street redesign will introduce protected bicycle lanes for six avenue blocks, with shortened crossings and slow-turn treatments at intersections, allowing pedestrians and cyclists to be out of harm’s way. It would run from Prospect Park West to Third Avenue, and institute narrower cross sections which will reduce speeding, while maintaining vehicle flow and emergency access.

The Department of Transportation’s  proposed redesign was released at a community workshop Wednesday. It will be presented to Community Board 6 in June, with installation planned this summer following community feedback.

Part of the reform that Albany will be voting on includes the city installing speed cameras at an additional 150 school zones — more than double the current number. Revising the definition of a school zone is also a goal, so as to allow the DOT to address speeding on streets that are close to schools, as opposed to only the street or streets on which a school is located.

For example, despite three different schools located along Seventh or Eighth streets in Park Slope, no cameras are allowed along Ninth Street, which students from those schools walk across every day. De Blasio hopes Albany will extend the program until 2022.

A state Senate bill that allows New York City to install more cameras on streets near schools to catch speeding drivers has also won the support  of state Sen. Marty Golden, who announced that he is backing the legislation following a meeting he had with transportation safety advocates.

Golden now wants to co-sponsor state Sen. Jose Peralta’s bill that would double the number of speed cameras in school zones from the current 145 to 290, but had opposed the previous version that called for speed cameras to be placed at 700 locations around the city, according to Gerard Kassar, his chief of staff.

A vote on this bill hasn’t been scheduled but if it passes both the Senate and Assembly, and is signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the new law would expire on July 1, 2022.


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