Downtown

Big changes coming for Downtown Brooklyn’s dangerous Tillary Street

August 8, 2019 Mary Frost
Work in progress on Tillary Street at Cadman Plaza West.  Eagle photo by Mary Frost

The city’s Department of Transportation is giving Tillary Street in Downtown Brooklyn a makeover.

Tillary Street is the main entrance to Brooklyn from the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges, but its Downtown Brooklyn intersections are among the most dangerous in the city.

Construction has begun that will improve safety on the hazardous stretch by adding traffic-calming measures, improving bike lanes, widening pedestrian walkways and building wider medians and curb extensions. The plan will also beautify the currently drab streetscape with trees, plantings and benches.

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The intersection of Tillary and Adams streets — popular with bikers and pedestrians going to and from the Brooklyn Bridge — averaged 39 crashes a year during a DOT study covering 2008-2010. During these three years, 144 people were injured — almost nine times the state average.

Another dangerous intersection is Tillary Street and Flatbush Avenue, averaging 37 crashes a year. During the three years of the study, 112 people were injured.

Plans to improve safety on Tillary Street have been in the works since 20004. Above: A sign was temporarily installed to honor the memory of teacher Ron Mortensen, run down by a car on Tillary and Adams Streets at the entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge in 2007. Mortensen tripped over his own shoes trying to run out of the way of a car. Photo by MK Frost, courtesy of McBrooklyn
Plans to improve safety on Tillary Street have been in the works since 20004. Above: A sign was temporarily installed to honor the memory of teacher Ron Mortensen, run down by a car on Tillary and Adams Streets at the entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge in 2007. Photo by MK Metz, courtesy of McBrooklyn

Pedestrians were killed at the intersection during years not included in the study, too. Among these was teacher Ron Mortensen, fatally hit by a car at the intersection of Tillary and Adams in 2007.

Mortensen tripped over his own shoes trying to run out of the way of a car, according to the McBrooklyn blog.

The project has been in the works since 2004, when Community Board 2 requested that the DOT take action on this section of Tillary. In the 2004 Downtown Brooklyn Traffic Calming Project report, CB2 wrote: “… the extremely congested and often dangerous Tillary Street/Adams Street intersection should be given a priority in terms of study and solutions offered.”


According to a DOT grant application, the improvements will reduce crashes by 20 to 30 percent in the area.

The project area includes the Federal Courthouse for the Eastern District of New York, New York City College of Technology, and the NYU Tandon campus. Several years ago the cost was estimated at $40 million.


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