Brooklyn Electeds to DOT: Put Safety First at Atlantic and Flatbush

For Valentine’s Day, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and council members Brad Lander and Stephen Levin asked DOT to “complete” Atlantic Avenue. Photo: David Meyer

About a dozen people braved the cold Saturday morning to call for pedestrian safety improvements at Brooklyn’s Times Plaza and along the whole Atlantic Avenue corridor.

Times Plaza is the triangular public space at the convergence of Atlantic, Flatbush, and Fourth avenues. At a public meeting last month, local residents were disappointed that the redesign proposed by Barclays Center developer Forest City Ratner, which is contractually obligated to fund the project, failed to address pedestrian safety concerns.

“It was clear at the meeting from the community turnout that what we really needed at this plaza was a safer place to cross,” Transportation Alternatives Brooklyn Committee Co-Chair Bahij Chancey said on Saturday.

Chancey and TA were joined by Borough President Eric Adams, council members Brad Lander and Stephen Levin, Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon, and representatives from Senator Velmanette Montgomery’s office and the Atlantic Avenue BID.

“How could you plan a plaza here before you make it safe?” Lander asked. “The intersection has to be safe before the plaza is made lovely. Lovely is good, safety is essential, so let’s start there.” DOT has said it plans to present pedestrian improvements for the intersection this spring.

Times Plaza is surrounded by no less than 17 lanes of car traffic. Image: Google Maps
There were nearly 100 crashes at the three intersections around Times Plaza between January and July last year, according to local electeds. Image: Google Maps

DOT expanded the sidewalk on the west side of Times Plaza in 2011 as part of traffic mitigation for the Barclays Center. Redesigning the whole space would require partnership with the MTA, which owns the historic structure in the middle of the plaza.

Lander and five other city and state legislators have sent a letter to MTA Chair Tom Prendergast, DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, and Forest City Ratner CEO MaryAnne Gilmartin asking them to jointly address the safety issues at the intersection and the design of the plaza. You can read the text below.

  • Bernard Finucane

    Unbelieveably bad intersection design. Flatbush coming in from the SE should bend eastwards to intersect Atlantic perpendicularly. Coming in from the NW it should bend westwards to intersect Atlantic perpendicularly as well. 4th should be shut down between Atlantic and Flatbush. All crosswalks and stop lines should be perpendicular to the curb. The traffic light should be on the same side of the street as the cars are expected to stop, not across the intersection.

    There are a lot of intersections in the city with odd angles that could be treated the same way.

  • MyTransit NYC

    For situations such as this, our users have been crowdsourcing their complaints to get more visibility with MyTransit NYC App: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.nyctrans.it

  • 1ifbyrain2ifbytrain

    If just one of these politicians spent any amount of time walking they would see that Atlantic and Flatbush are both treated like highways by drivers.

  • The politicians are perfectly aware that these streets are treated as highways by drivers. The problem is that most of them, upon observing this, come to the conclusion “these are highways; and pedestrians need to understand that”, rather than the conclusion “this is a serious problem which must be remedied”.

  • brooklynsandy

    The DOT has fancied itself an adjunct to the NY Economic Development Corporation as its enabler in pushing the Business Improvement Districts’ -aka the proliferating BIDs’ zeal for pedestrian plazas…no matter the consequences.

    In the case of Fowler Plaza-Ft Greene…it’s all about the DOT closing a street to enable local shops to enrich their bottom line (after exacting an additional tax from them for the privilege of paying for what is supposed to be paid for already-sanitation and security!) Pedestrian playground…? After all…Ft Greene Park is a block away…as is Cuylor Gore…who are they kidding?

    In the case of Putnam Plaza-Clinton Hill…it’s all about the DOT closing a street impinging on Bus access…struggling shops forced to pay levies for a cockamamie idea which has nothing to do with mitigating traffic…but everything to do with helping the BID’s board members of the FAB Alliance-mostly real estate interests…

    The simple concept of facilitating traffic in smart and safe ways has been upended by a Bloombergian priority -as it is for de Blasio–the championing of business interests and REBNY’s free-fror-all first and foremost…the pedestrian in actuality is second and quite incidental in the DOT’s agenda.

  • Steve Malone

    It’s real simple. Put tolls on the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges and traffic would drop dramatically with on Flatbush and Atlantic with corresponding safety improvements. There is no need to continue subsidizing well-off Long Islanders and Queens resident with a free ride into the center of the city.

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