Coverage of Last Night’s Park Slope Meeting

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  • street walker

    Despite the emotional opposition to converting 6th and 7th avenues into one-way roads, the opponents offered no evidence or support for their claims that the change would be for the worse.

    Let’s face it, Manhattan has been a good laboratory for the transition to one-way avenues. Meanwhile, much of Park Slope and Brooklyn is covered with one-way thoroughfares. Has anyone begged to convert the one-way roads back to two-way arteries? No.

    Opponents, such as Eric Adams, believe, though offer no evidence, that one-way streets are a paradise for drag-racers. Please. What nonsense. That doesn’t happen on any street in neighborhoods with heavy retail and pedestrian activity. Drag racing occurs far from the crowds and the police.

    Others make nonsensical claims about increasing the traffic in Park Slope. Interesting. Almost every parking space is almost always occupied at every available hour. The shops are busy and the sidewalks are heavily traveled.

    I suppose a few more cars and people could squeeze in, but aside from gaining a few more parking spaces due to the removal of some bus stops, it’s pretty much a matter of physics when it comes to calculating how much matter can actually fill the available volume on Park Slope streets.

    Maybe store owners could stay open extra hours and serve a late-night crowd. Or maybe a few more early birds.

    But the reality of more cars in Park Slope boils down to the number of housing units within the neighborhood. More housing, more cars.

    A little more prosperity would also boost the car population. Those without cars may choose to buy them if an improving household budget permits.

    Furthermore, it’s hard to imagine store operators would choose to stick with a plan that supporters claim keeps potential shoppers from their favorite shops.

  • JF

    “Meanwhile, much of Park Slope and Brooklyn is covered with one-way thoroughfares. Has anyone begged to convert the one-way roads back to two-way arteries?”

    Yes, please.

  • da

    Excerpt from an email account making the rounds:

    “It can’t have any connection [with the Atlantic Yards proposal] because it’s not mentioned in the AY EIS and if it did have any connection then the EIS would be defective and the EIS is not defective.”
    (that’s a quote I got from a Community Board person.)

  • d

    street walker wrote:

    “Let’s face it, Manhattan has been a good laboratory for the transition to one-way avenues.”

    But there’s a HUGE difference between avenues in Manhattan, most of which are wide enough for four lanes of traffic, and the avenues we’re talking about in Brooklyn, which are only wide enough for two. Do we really need cars going faster down these narrow roads?

    Many of the supporters of these one-way conversions use apples-to-oranges comparisons to make their claims. Brooklyn’s 7th Avenue and Manhattan’s 7th Avenue are in entirely different leagues.

  • street walker

    d, you wrote:

    “But there’s a HUGE difference between avenues in Manhattan, most of which are wide enough for four lanes of traffic, and the avenues we’re talking about in Brooklyn, which are only wide enough for two.”

    True. And your observation is a chief reason that the narrower avenues of Park Slope won’t become arteries for vehicles speeding through the neighborhood headed to someplace else.

    Because Park Slope is buffered by Prospect Park, there is simply no reason to think the neighborhood roadways offer the best route to anywhere else. Even people who live in Windsor Terrace have little reason to cut through Park Slope if they’re heading home from anywhere but Park Slope.

    However, if every street extended across PPW and connected to the roadway in Prospect Park and the Park were open for cars 24 hours a day, more vehicles would zip though the neighborhood. But, with only one entry at 3rd st and limited hours of use, there’s no danger.

  • d

    “…the narrower avenues of Park Slope won’t become arteries for vehicles speeding through the neighborhood headed to someplace else.”

    Need I mention 8th Avenue, especially between 9th Street and Flatbush? It’s a drag strip when compared with 6th Avenue. See this blog’s nicely done short movie to see cars at speeds of over 40 mph through a very narrow artery.

  • You probably won’t win against “street walker” who is the same as “no_slappz” on gowanus lounge blog. Good sophistry, but bad arguments.

    He asks for specific example in one breath, then says “[circusumstances being different, examples] have little value”.

  • street walker

    chandru, you wrote:

    “Good sophistry, but bad arguments. He asks for specific example in one breath, then says “[circusumstances being different, examples] have little value”.”

    Examples can be constructive and instructive, but there is no reason to conclude that roadway changes made in cities other than Brooklyn or NY City should serve as anything more than starting points for analysis.

    The fact that Park Slope sits adjacent to Prospect Park and that it is not a natural setting for through-traffic is a major matter.

    Frankly, during the construction of Atlantic Yards, it’s likely Park Slope will see a DECREASE in motor-vehicle traffic. Tie-ups at the nexus of Atlantic, Flatbush and 4th Aves will send drivers in other directions, causing them to avoid Flatbush Ave in PS unless that is their destination.

  • street walker

    chandru, you wrote:

    “Good sophistry, but bad arguments. He asks for specific example in one breath, then says “[circusumstances being different, examples] have little value”.”

    Examples are instructive and constructive, but there’s no reason to think that roadway changes made in other cities are anything more than starting points for the analysis of Brooklyn streets.

    Because Park Slope is adjacent to Prospect Park and for other reasons related to its location and the roads around it, PS is not a natural site for through-traffic.

    Thus, your implication that traffic will increase because drivers headed elsewhere will cut through PS is weak.

    Meanwhile, if one-way streets do increase the flow of traffic on 7th, it will result from more people whose destination is Park Slope. The store owners will benefit.

    Moreover, the construction of Atlantic Yards may lead to a DECREASE in traffic around Park Slope. Tie-ups at the nexus of Flatbush, Atlantic and 4th Aves will lead drivers to take routes that avoid that point. Thus, many will avoid the section of Flatbush Ave that passes along the edge of PS.

  • street walker

    d, you wrote:

    “Need I mention 8th Avenue, especially between 9th Street and Flatbush? It’s a drag strip when compared with 6th Avenue.”

    Cars speed where no retail or points of community activity exist. But near the stores, churches, temples and schools on 8th ave, things are much different.

    By the way, if you’re looking for another dragstrip, try the stretch of McDonald along Greenwood Cemetery between 9th ave and Ft Hamilton Pkwy. It’s a two-way venue, but it offers the added benefit of a downhill run in one direction.

  • Eric

    “Opponents offered no evidence or support for their claims that the change would be for the worse?” Did you watch the film of 8th vs. 7th avenues? Did you hear any evidence from DOT that the change would be for the BETTER? People have been advocating for conversion to two-way streets for years, but until Thursday evening, no DOT official had been spotted in a public meeting for years.

    One-way streets have much greater capacity than two-way streets. It’s a fact. One-way traffic moves faster. It’s a fact. The higher the speed, the more damaging the accident. It’s a fact. And if you buy the sales pitch that this recommendation was motivated by concerns about pedestrian safety, you’ve probably never heard of “Atlantic Yards.”

    Sorry, Street Walker, you’re just wrong.

  • Nicolo Macchiavelli

    Street Walker wrong x 10. May favorite is the debate stopper “More housing, more cars.” No need to discuss after a presentation like that.

  • nimby pimby

    “One-way streets have much greater capacity than two-way streets. It’s a fact. One-way traffic moves faster. It’s a fact. The higher the speed, the more damaging the accident. It’s a fact.”
    Accepting these points as “facts,” though, you still don’t make any relevant argument about 6th and 7th Avenue. Would traffic on the two avenues move faster than it does now? Yes. But does that mean it’s too fast? Does it mean it’s dangerously fast? If someone’s hit by a car moving at 30 mph is that any worse than if someone’s hit by a car moving at 40 mph? And no one’s even responded to the point that one-way streets are safer for pedestrians because you only have to look one way. Even if traffic does move at 35 mph (with the buffering, absent on 8th, I highly doubt it would go much faster than that), you only have to look one way when you’re crossing the street. The only response to this has been “The idea that this is for pedestrian safety is ridiculous! Why?! Because it’s ridiculous!!” Could we stop with the rhetoric and circular reasoning and have an argument against it? I’d be willing to listen. And if everyone who opposes this plan cares so much about traffic moving too fast, why aren’t you equally vociferous in advocating cameras to enforce the speed limit?

  • I’d rather be hit by a car at 30 than at 40, if I were to be hit at all. The impact energy rises as the square of the speed, so 40 has 180% the energy–almost twice–as 30. 35-40 is also the threshold of death.

    Traffic cameras, enforcement, etc. are of limited efficiency. What slows traffic down is the driver’s preception of saftey for *themselves*, so automatically a 2-way street with opposing traffic is slower because most drivers are more cautious with (even at 20mph) the possiblity of hitting a car headon at 40. Narrow lanes slow traffic. Double-parkers slow traffic even if there’s room around them.It’s incontrovertible.

    Even the DOT admitted (by implication) at the presentation that the conversion would lead to faster traffic because they said they could monkey with the traffic light cycles to reduce speed.

    The looking one way is another chimera. I’ve managed to teach “look both ways” to my 8+ year old son (who can quite happily cross streets by himself if need be.) It’s natural and automatic. If one can’t do this, maybe one shouldn’t be a pedestrian.

  • t

    Most of the arguments against this can be found in the movie posted on this very blog:

    http://www.streetsblog.org/2007/03/14/streetfilms-one-way-is-the-wrong-way/

    The people criticizing others as “nimbys” seem not to want to see the facts already posted on this blog, nor do they seem to demand the same degree of fact-telling from the DOT regarding the supposed need for this change.

    Might certainly does not make right, but I wonder if proponents of one-way changes could motivate 400 people to attend a hearing on this issue.

  • Great write-up in the NY Times today, mentioned Aaron and Streetsblog! Kudos

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/18/nyregion/thecity/18traffic.html

  • street walker

    Eric, you wrote:

    “One-way streets have much greater capacity than two-way streets. It’s a fact.”

    I see. In other words a parking lot filled with cars holds more cars if they’re all facing the same way, but less cars if half are pointed one way and half in the opposing direction. Okay.

    You claimed:

    “One-way traffic moves faster. It’s a fact.”

    If you mean traffic that is not impeded by cars making left turns, perhaps your claim is partly accurate. So what?

    Drivers will not head to Park Slope to drive like maniacs in the neighorhood just because they can travel on a one-way street.

    Drivers go to Park Slope to shop or because they live there or are visiting. It is not, now will it be, known as an underground racing site.

    You wrote:

    “The higher the speed, the more damaging the accident. It’s a fact.”

    Well, physics supports this claim, but it doesn’t have much to do with the nature of driving in Park Slope.

    You opined:

    “And if you buy the sales pitch that this recommendation was motivated by concerns about pedestrian safety, you’ve probably never heard of “Atlantic Yards.””

    Frankly, the construction phase of Atlantic Yards is likely to REDUCE traffic flowing past Park Slope on Flatbush Ave. After it’s built, residents of Park Slope won’t notice an increase. Moreover, store owners on 7th Ave may see business decline after all the retail sites open in AY.

  • ABG

    Okay, so this quote from Primeggia in the NY Times article:

    ‘Residents at the meeting did raise safety concerns: They asked that nearby Eighth Avenue and Prospect Park West, both one-way streets, be made two-way to slow down traffic.

    After the meeting, Mr. Primeggia dismissed that idea. “I would never recommend making a street unsafe,” he said. “I know that two-way streets are less safe.”’

    Do people here think he really believes this? And do they think he’s right, on any level? I can kind of see some general truth to it that there may be less pedestrian casualties just because the street is so much more inhospitable.

    But we don’t want inhospitable streets, right? If making a street two-way increases the risk of pedestrian casualties, it would be possible to mitigate that through traffic calming. Of course, that would lead to a significant decrease in “capacity,” which seems to go against Primeggia’s entire mission.

    Now I live near a one-way street, where I feel pretty unsafe. A block past that on the way to the subway is another one-way street where a friend of mine was seriously injured while waiting on the sidewalk to cross. These are currently designed as overflow for one of the big boulevards.

    I’d like to see both of those made one-way, and it depresses me to think that this guy has the will and the power to block that. He doesn’t seem anywhere near retirement, and I’d like to see this happen before my son (now about the same age as James Rice) is old enough to cross by himself.

    So, is there any way around Primeggia? When is the Mayor expected to decide on a new Commissioner?

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