Livable Streets Community News: Mapping Hotspots, Getting Results

PSCC1.jpgA workshop participant diagrammed these traffic-calming proposals for Bartel Pritchard Square.

If you want to use the Livable Streets Community site to organize in your neighborhood, this week we’ve got a great example of what you can do with your group.

On February 7, Brooklyn’s Park Slope Civic Council put on a workshop to introduce people to the livable streets "toolkit" and gather ideas for improving the public realm in the neighborhood. As their final report [PDF] explains, "The workshop was aimed explicitly at ordinary citizens, not transportation or planning professionals or members of advocacy groups."

The workshop brought together 50 people from the neighborhood, who mapped out an inventory of 120 "hotspots" of particular concern. Speeding quickly came to the forefront as a detriment to pedestrian safety and quality of life, with Eighth Avenue, Prospect Park West, and Union Street targeted as problem areas.

After completing the report, the Civic Council submitted it to DOT and other city agencies. One immediate benefit has been the improved line of communication between the Civic Council’s Livable Streets Committee and the 78th Precinct. Lauri Schindler — who organized the workshop — tells us that police often receive mixed messages from communities about how to enforce speeding and other traffic laws. The feedback captured in the report, she explains, opened some eyes: "They were glad to see enforcement issues as considered key in livable streets."

The Civic Council is looking forward to sharing their techniques with other neighborhoods. "Eighth Avenue is a unique location but speeding is
not unique," says Schindler. "We want to work with other communities on these shared issues."

If you’re interested in mapping the livability of your streets, check out the final report, available on StreetsWiki as well as the Civic Council’s site.

  • Bill SM Lee

    Even better than submitting off the cuff, amateur, traffic calming plans to DOT would be to invite DOT, the cops, councilmember and district manager to hear community concerns. This DOT knows what to do. What they need from the concerned public is the political support to act. That means winning support from the community board and city council for DOT’s street improvements. These charettes and planning sessions are only meaningful if they result in concerned people participating in the political process. Do they? That’s not apparent. Five people turning out ten times to the local Community Precinct Council and complaining about speeding and reckless driving would put much more pressure on the cops than any one off planning event.

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