“Officials Deny” That Flatbush and Glenwood is Dangerous

The green circle with the red dot in the middle marks the intersection of Flatbush Avenue and Glenwood Road where, between 1995 and 2001 there were 23 pedestrian injuries and one fatality. More recent data shows the intersection to be one of the most dangerous in New York City. Source: Crashstat.org

Yesterday morning, the driver of an SUV fleeing a minor fender bender drove up on the sidewalk on Flatbush Avenue and mowed down a mother and her three children from behind, killing a 5-year-old. Then she tried to drive off. The aftermath of this crash was so horrific, even the firefighters were in tears. The New York Times reports:

As the mother lay bleeding on the rain-slick sidewalk, screaming and moaning in pain, witnesses said they could see her staring at her fatally injured son. Bookbags and shoes were scattered about. The driver of the Explorer, Bertilde Gabriel, 52, kept going down the sidewalk along Flatbush Avenue in Flatbush until she was forced to stop when at least one driver who had seen the accident cut off her vehicle, witnesses said.

But it was the last line of today’s Daily News story really caught my attention:

The mom and kids were hit near Flatbush Ave. and Glenwood Road – the site of 35 pedestrian injuries in the past 10 years, according to the watchdog group Transportation Alternatives. The group called the intersection one of the most dangerous in the city – an assessment city officials denied.

The denial is mysterious. As the Crashstat map above illustrates this entire section of Flatbush, Brooklyn is the scene of frequent motor vehicle carnage. Additionally, according to DOT crash data that Transportation Alternatives received from a Freedom of Information Law request earlier this year, during the three year period between 2002 and 2004 Flatbush and Glenwood averaged 6.3 pedestrians struck per year. This places the intersection within the 99th percentile for most dangerous signalized intersections in New York City, according to TransAlt.

What might DOT do to protect pedestrians at these known dangerous intersections? Yesterday we published a photo of a car crash scene just a bit further up Flatbush Avenue at Grand Army Plaza. Though the car easily could have careened into a pedestrian crossing heavily traveled by stroller-pushing moms, there was no accompanying story of tragedy because this section of sidewalk is protected by steel bollards.

While city government can’t prevent or be held responsible for every act of motor vehicle mayhem on New York City streets, there is a lot that the city can do to reduce risks to pedestrians. That won’t start getting done if officials are in denial and refuse to acknowledge their own data.

  • Lane Wyden

    The DOT is still like the NYPD used to be in terms of their response to tragedy. Not too smart.

  • Nicolo Macchiavelli

    There are many factors favoring Flatbush Ave. becoming the next Boulevard of Death. It is an on ramp to the BQE on one end and the Belt on the other. This particular location is a very heavy pedestrian area, part of the “Junction” neighborhood that houses Brooklyn College, Nostrand Ave. Flatbush Ave and the subway lines.

    Also, this is the heart of “dollar van” territory. The dollar vans, many with out of state plates, started as total outlaws. But even after they acheived a degree of legality thanks to the effective lobbying of several dollar van owners they operate in a chaotic and illegal manner.

    There is a driver chaos on Flatbush Ave. that would never be permitted in any of the whiter, less immigrant dense, jurisdictions. The new Congresswoman Yvette Clark”s mother Una carried the water for those dollar van owners and bears a high level of responsiblity for the traffic chaos along this street.

    The dollar vans are a plague on mass transit, they drive down MTA bus productivity, clog up the streets for everyone else, bikes, motorcycles, cars and pedestrians. Avoid payroll taxes and provide illicit cash-business income to many wild operators and out of state auto predators. Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) cannot exist in an economy that tolerates their presence.

  • JK

    “Transalt” sounds at best like a government mega-agency, at worst like a defense contractor or something controlled by a friend of Dick Cheney. How about sticking to “Transportation Alternatives” or “T.A” in this forum?

  • Bugg

    As you travel southbound on Flatbush, there’s a left turn eastbound onto Glenwood that backs up traffic there; and at the same time there’s always trucks parked and dollar vans and vehicles stopped and double parked in the right lane.You basically have 2 southbound lanes of traffic which are often totally blocked. Plus the light at Nostrand and Flatbush backs up traffic, spilling back into the southbound lanes. There should be more enforcement. But DOT doesn’t really do much around there except write parking tickets. There should be a tow truck looking to clear the whole intesection, and then the dollar vans, trucks, and idiots would stop blocking the right lane at least. Some traffic agents directing traffic there as they have at Flatush and Atlantic and Schemerhorm would help.

    Sadly the dollar van thing as above is true. Cops are discouraged from stopping vans due to Yvette Clarke and other pols making life hell for any cop or traffic agent that does enforcement. I suspect that if you did tow violators, the cops or traffic agents would soon get the same dose of crap. And the chaos gets worse as Christmas approaches and the Kings Plaza shopping mall brings out more dollar vans, many unlicensed, unregistered and uninsured and practically unregulated.


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