Levin Traffic Task Force Gets to Work

A traffic task force spearheaded by Brooklyn Council Member Steve Levin and the Boerum Hill Association convened for the first time Wednesday night. Levin’s district includes several neighborhoods battered by traffic heading to and from the free East River bridges, and local residents have been engaged for years in efforts to make streets safer, eventually yielding improvements like the Downtown Brooklyn Traffic Calming Project.

The Carroll Gardens Patch reports that a group of about a dozen residents outlined an agenda last night that primarily focuses on improvements in street safety.

The first task is to look into installing red light cameras, leading pedestrian intervals … and pedestrian countdowns on Atlantic Avenue.

The group also voted to look into installing speed cameras in the neighborhood.

In addition, the task force is interested in bringing bike-share to Boerum Hill, as well as 20 mph zones.

“It was a really positive, productive, candid discussion,” says Juan Martinez, general counsel for Transportation Alternatives. “The council member’s constituents have a sophisticated understanding of how to make our streets safer, and it’s great to see that [Levin] is responding to it.”

Martinez points out that Levin is a co-sponsor of Int. 370-A, the Saving Lives Through Better Information Bill, which would require the city to publicize data on traffic collisions online. “Right now, residents know where the dangerous intersections are, they know that street signals need to be re-timed on Atlantic Avenue so drivers don’t behave like it’s a freeway. But without data, residents can’t quantify the problem.” Stepping up traffic enforcement is another item on the task force to-do list.

Co-chair and Levin staffer Hope Reichbach intends task force discussions to serve as the means, not the ends. “It’s frustrating for people because you hear about something and it never seems to go anywhere,” she said Wednesday. “So this forum to me, I want to go over what anyone thinks, what comes to mind to people, and then [move to] the next step.”

  • Geck

    How about swapping the bike lane and the parking lane on Bergen and Dean to make Grand Street-like parking protected bike lanes?

  • Hmmmmm

    Did Marty Markowitz show up?

    You can just see him standing out there if red light cameras get approved years from now saying, “This is unnecessary!! No one asked for this!! This was done without community involvement!!”

  • Mike Epstein

    There isn’t room for protected bike lanes without removing parking from one side of the street. However, I would love to see diverters for cars to reduce the amount of thru traffic that clogs the neighborhood and makes these heavily used bike lanes dangerous at rush hours.

  • Danny G

    Agree strongly with Mike. Diverters would transform Dean and Bergen from through streets to local neighborhood streets.

  • chuck

    What are diverters? Like mini-islands at intersections?

    Has anyone ever seen a raised crosswalk in this city, like in London?

  • Mike

    Turning Bergen and Dean (or State, Pacific, etc) into bike boulevards would be a tremendous step forward for pedestrian safety, neighborhood quality of life, and biking.

  • tom

    Why does the Councilman want a Traffic Task Force here? Is there an unreconciled problem with the Transportation Committee of Community Board 6?

  • ladyperson

    Councilman Levin is helping his staffer, Hope Reichbach, establish a stronger footing in that part of his district, so she can try again to run for elected office there. That’s why they’re not going through the community board, they want to build her platform for her next campaign to be a district leader.

  • Levin is my council person and I’m glad he’s reaching out more broadly to constituents. If he sets up a meeting about traffic issues on the weekend or an early weekday morning, I just might attend and meet this “Hope Reichbach”. Soon, their evil plan to lure in the community with issues they care about and win support by promoting these issues in government will be complete!

  • Moses Hurwitz

    What ladyperson said is true, which might answer tom’s question (although Boerum Hill isn’t in Community Board 6; it’s in Community Board 2).

  • cb6er

    I think this is a great idea. Reichbach, a lifelong Boerum Hill resident, should be commended for her work. While I value the work done by our Community Boards, they are not the beginning and end of civic engagement. While I think Ladyperson is being unduly cynical about all this, how about we assess the work done by this task force over time and judge people accordingly. If this results in safer streets I’m all for it.

  • Ruth S. Meyers

    Hope Reichbach is on the right track. Her work along with Levin’s should be supported. She would make a fine elcted official.

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