Downtown Brooklyn Traffic Calming Project: Ten Years On

March 1996:
Residents in Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, and Boerum Hill are tired of their streets absorbing overflow from the nearby Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. Neighborhood groups have tried repeatedly to convince the City to protect the neighborhoods from rush hour through traffic. So far, the City has done nothing but promise further study. DOT officials have even criticized residents for not wanting to serve as doormats for Manhattan-bound motorists. Residents are now considering civil disobedience to protect their safety and quality of life….

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October 2006:
Donald Gianchetta looks out from his Atlantic Avenue antique shop – which cost him more than $70,000 to restore after a cab went flying through the front window last year – and watches an endless stream of cars speeding past. "This strip is just a highway," he says. "Three of my workers have been hit just trying to cross the street here," he said. "It’s out of control, this area. Something absolutely must be done. Just the other week a dear friend of mine died because of this madness"City Transportation Department officials noted Atlantic Ave. is a busy city thoroughfare and said several improvements, such as longer pedestrian crossing times to increase safety, already have been implemented.

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  • P

    You know how to throw some cold water on a rally…

  • Well… Jo Anne Simon of Boerum Hill said it best in her speech at the rally: “I’m still holding up the same damned signs.”

  • JK

    Atlantic Ave is another big arguement for a congestion relief zone in Manhattan. 40% of vehicles in Downtown Bklyn are heading to Manhattan. Without reducing the upstream traffic pressure, it will be very tough to make Atlantic the beautiful, pedestrian friendly boulevard it could be.

    The patient is sick. The arteries are clogged. Add another million people, vehicles, trucks to the arteries and how much sicker will the patient be?

  • P

    Great point, JK. If congestion pricing is going to win politically it has to be understood that the benefits are not limited to Manhattan. The outer boroughs have a reflexive opposition to being forced to pay extra for access to Manhattan. It must be demonstrated that an increase in the cost of driving a car to Manhattan will be paired with enhanced transit access and travel times as well as a benefit in the livability on Flatbush Ave, Atlantic Ave, Grand Ave, Queens Plaza, and dozens of other places.

    Advocates need to remember that only a small percentage of New Yorkers live in the likely congestion pricing zone and abstract, technocratic arguments will not win the day in Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and that other place.

  • bklynpol

    Well, Howard Golden led the fight and funded this project. What’s Marty been doing these past five years??? Oh right, giving concerts.

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