After Bloody Week in Brooklyn, Markowitz Blasts Pedestrian Safety Measures

We’re one week into the new year, and 2011 is off to a vicious start on Brooklyn streets.

In the last few days, a speeding livery cab driver plowed into a Sunset Park sidewalk, injuring a mother and her two nine-month-old twins; a hit-and-run driver knocked a boy out of his stroller and ran over his stomach on Kent Avenue; and 83-year-old Rabbi Mosha Adler was struck by a car in Midwood and sustained lacerations to the head. The rabbi died. The other four victims are hospitalized with serious injuries.

The Borough President has become increasingly vocal on traffic issues recently, testifying before City Council and sending out holiday cards about bike lanes. But after a bloody week for Brooklyn pedestrians, where is Marty Markowitz? Is he paying attention? How long do we have to wait until we see Marty stand up and say this is unacceptable?

If you were watching CBS2 last night, you got an answer. Perched on a Boro Park sidewalk, Markowitz joined Assembly Member Dov Hikind to blast the pedestrian safety improvements NYC DOT has added to Fort Hamilton Parkway. The new refuge islands, installed on a stretch of road where three people died in traffic in the past three years, are, in Marty’s view, “meshugga.”

So it seems that Brooklyn has to wait at least a year or two before Marty will say something even vaguely connected to the maiming and killing that happened in his borough this week. Then, after the city has planned a way to protect people on these streets, secured resources to implement the plan, and built out the improvements, Marty will notice. But not because a street became safer. He’ll notice because someone complained that the street is different than it was before.

That will grab Marty’s attention. And then he’ll send an alert out to the local TV news producers, stand in front of the cameras, and, employing his cute ethnic phrase du jour, say, “This is unacceptable.”

  • J. Mork

    Powerful post. I hope Markowitz is embarrassed.

  • Harsh Reality

    What does Markowitz care? Dead rebbes and babies don’t vote, or contribute to his amphitheater/monument.

  • The streets must be safe. That simple.

  • fdr

    You hope Markowitz is embarrassed? Now that’s meshugah. Nothing embarrasses Marty.

  • J

    I only hope that local papers pick up on this one. It’s really pretty disgusting on his part.

  • Marty Barfowitz

    If Marty Markowitz and Dov Hikind weren’t totally, utterly shameless, I’d say “Shame on Marty and Hikind.”

  • JK

    I’d like to see pedestrian safety advocates stand on the steps of Bklyn Borough Hall and publicly ask Marty exactly what he is doing to keep his walking constituents from being killed and injured. Let’s hear it. If he has an alternative to proven street safety engineering, let’s hear it. If he claims that better police enforcement will solve the problem, let’s hear how he proposes to pay for more cops, deploy them more effectively and sustain their deployment. Really, where are all these cops coming from, and what’s kept them from doing the job during Marty’s previous term? Seriously, what will Marty do to keep dozens of his walking constituents from being killed and maimed in 2011? Or, does Marty just oppose what others are trying to do.

    If anyone out there is thinking about starting a victims rights group like MADD or Britain’s Road Peace. Now would be a great time to get started.

  • butters

    His email address is askmarty@brooklynbp.nyc.gov . Please be civil, but encourage him to rethink his convenient-driving-at-any-cost stance. We probably won’t be able to convince him, but enough pushback could convince him to focus on something other than making the DOT’s job hard.

    But really: be civil!

  • Paul

    The only thing that causes traffic jams are cars. Not islands, not bike lanes, and not pedestrians crossing the street. Cars.

  • Omri

    Maybe it’s to organize a demonstration on this island.

  • The problem is double parking. If people did not feel it was there right to double park there would be room to drive.

  • J. Mork

    C.U., which is another way of saying that parking is underpriced.

  • Yea, free double parking.

  • Marcia Kramer’s Eyebrow

    Wow, even this raised my eyebrow.

  • butters

    Marty’s under-punctuated response to my email:

    ‘thanks and go take a look at these pedestrians malls which are 2 blocks from Maimonids Hospital…there is absolutely no way to “tweek” these malls other than removing them completely..lives depend on the speed of ambulances reaching the emergency docks at the hospital…….and this is not a “pro car or pro-bike dispute……….pedestrian islands are appropriate in certain locations but not here..there was absolutely no thought to the danger at this location..there must be accountability in the DOT’s action now and in the future marty’

  • Chris

    @butters: Too bad Marty doesn’t back up his claims with actual evidence

  • bram

    Yeah, that’d be a lot to ask. afaik beeps don’t have a lot of formal power–they have some discretionary money to burn, but otherwise they just have a non-voting role in committees and a lot of opportunity to make noise. So I’m going to go ahead and not care what Markowitz thinks–let’s just gently annoy him until he shuts up and moves on to something else.

  • JK

    Marty gets media coverage. Media coverage influences the public debate and government decision making. People believe what they see in the media, even when they are latter told it is false. This is why the Big Lie works. Marty also appoints community boards — he sacked those in CB 6 who opposed Atlantic Yards. Community boards are considered the same as the community by reporters. The net of it is that Marty can impose a political cost on DOT for installing life saving pedestrian and cycling engineering. The greater the political cost, the less DOT can do. That is why you cannot ignore Marty.

  • Markowitz types: this is not a “pro car or pro-bike dispute

    What? It’s also not a pro helicopter or pro-UFO dispute. It is a pedestrian safety problem that political and media elites see as beneath their dignity to address.

  • thenewsjunkie

    What’s so ridiculous about the CBS2 report is that they think the ambulance was forced into the oncoming traffic lane because of the traffic lane. Ambluances, fire engines and police cars routinely cross over the double yellow line in order to get past backed up traffic. They often race up oncoming traffic lanes with their lights and sirens blaring. This is nothing new and it has nothing to do with the traffic ilsands. Hatzollah ambulances always travel in that oncoming traffic lane while on their way to Maimonides Hospital. Shame on Marcia Kramer and her lazy, gotcha journalism for holding up that one piece of video as an example of the pedestrian island’s impact on traffic.

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