Last night, DOT staff led a public workshop sponsored by Borough President Marty Markowitz’s Fourth Avenue Task Force on how to improve 28 blocks of Fourth Avenue in Park Slope, between 15th Street and Pacific Street. DOT expects to have a draft plan for the avenue, one of the borough’s most dangerous streets, within two months.
This project follows DOT’s pedestrian safety improvements on 50 blocks of Fourth Avenue in Sunset Park, which included wider medians and shorter crossing distances. These types of fixes may be likely for Park Slope, depending on the feedback that comes out of these meetings. DOT also has an online portal for the project, where people can suggest what type of improvements they want to see and where.
At the workshop last night, about 70 people gathered at ten tables arrayed with maps and diagrams at Holy Family and St. Thomas Aquinas Church. Their suggestions for Fourth Avenue ranged from bike lanes and median expansions to better lighting and more street trees.
DOT’s Christopher Hrones noted that traffic volumes increase as Fourth Avenue approaches Downtown Brooklyn, which will lead to some tension between needed pedestrian safety improvements and the agency’s desire to keep traffic flowing. The agency is still collecting traffic data for the project, Hrones said.
Council Member Brad Lander was most concerned with speeding on the southern stretches of the avenue. He mentioned that PS 118, named after Brooklyn-born author Maurice Sendak, is set to open this year on Fourth Avenue at 8th Street. “They want wild things there, but not in the street,” he said.
As in Sunset Park, the Fourth Avenue improvements will be made with paint and flexible barriers. They won’t go into the capital project pipeline unless residents and elected officials push for permanent reconstruction.
Representatives of NYPD’s 78th Precinct were invited by the Park Slope Civic Council to last night’s meeting, but did not attend. “We try our best to involve them more and more,” said Ildi Gritsayenko, who is involved with the Civic Council’s Forth on Fourth Avenue Committee, which hosted its own workshop on January 23.