Classon Avenue Road Diet Wins Support From Fourth Community Board

Under a plan approved by four community boards, Classon Avenue would become a one-lane road for much of its length. Shown here is a proposed transition from two lanes to a one-lane configuration. Image: NYC DOT

A plan to put Classon Avenue on a safety-enhancing road diet won unanimous approval from Brooklyn’s Community Board 8 last night. CB 8 was the fourth and final community board to vote on the proposal, according to the board. Each CB supported the plan.

Under the proposal from NYC DOT [PDF], the north-south corridor will be narrowed from two lanes to one in most locations. Where traffic is heavy or DOT thinks a turning lane is necessary, as at Eastern Parkway and Atlantic Avenue, Classon will remain two lanes wide.

The roadway space previously used for the second travel lane will be redistributed to widen the parking lanes on either side of the street.

DOT’s traffic calming plan stems from a request by City Council Member Letitia James, as well as community requests for speed bumps and other safety features.

Right now, Classon is more dangerous than three-quarters of all Brooklyn corridors, in terms of severity-weighted crashes. On average, 35 pedestrians, cyclists and motor vehicle occupants are injured on every mile of the road every year. In November, a driver killed a man walking across Classon at Fulton Street.

The road will be restriped early this year, according to DOT.

A four-vehicle collision on Classon last May ended with a UHaul truck in the side of a building and three people injured. Photo: ## Heights Patch.##
  • Sterling

    Hooray for Letitia James. She has really started to get behind the idea of livable streets in her district–especially noteworthy when so many other pols are opposing such measures.

  • Guest
  • Brooklyner

    This city would be a much better place if there were more City Council members like Letitia James.

  • I did not even know about this! Way to go CB8 and Council Member James. THANK YOU!  I hate Classon, It seems as if it could be such a nice street, but then you find 2 lanes of 40 mile per hour traffic racing down. The only North South avenue in our neighborhood worse than Classon is Rogers Ave. Please put that next on the road diet list. 

  • krstrois

    Oh, wow, this is great news. Classon is a convenient route home from my son’s school but I won’t even walk with him on the sidewalks it’s so f*cked.

  • caroline

    This is great news, people drive like maniacs on Classon. By the way, it isn’t clear from the pictures, but that U-haul was only feet away from taking out the outdoor dining area of the restaurant to the left of the ruined storefront, right in the middle of brunch rush when there were about a dozen people dining.

  • J

    First off, this is great news! Way to go Tish James! I also 2nd Rogers Ave for traffic calming. Could this be done on Franklin, south Lafayette, and maybe Brooklyn Ave as well?

    At a more detailed level, this is another de facto bike lane. If you look at the plans, most of the corridor is striped with one travel lane and a 13 foot parking lane, which is essentially a standard 8 foot parking lane and 5 foot bike lane, just without the striping. This is what the controversial Bedford Ave destriping resulted in, and a number of other projects have done this as well. While the net result is a much more convenient bike route, it’s pretty depressing that the exact same project, except with bike markings would attract enough controversy to keep them from the project altogether.

    Apparently, people don’t hate bikes or even giving space to bikes, it’s the bike markings themselves that really piss people off. 

  • Joe R.

    “Apparently, people don’t hate bikes or even giving space to bikes, it’s the bike markings themselves that really piss people off.”

    And that’s sometimes true even for cyclists, especially when it’s not immediately obvious what purpose the markings serve. For example, to this day I just don’t “get” bike boxes. Yes, I looked up what the purpose(s) of them ostensibly are because I was puzzled as heck what they were for when I first started noticing them. Practically speaking though, I’ve yet to be in any situation where they would provide me any practical benefit.

  • ben from bed stuy

    Agreed that adding a bike lane would make this an improved project. Do we think it’s “too late” to get the lane added. We know Letitia James is generally pro-bike. Maybe we can contact her about including the lane.

  • J

    @96f349e8b6a15ade91901dc135acc313:disqus It is entirely possible. What you are suggesting is basically what happened on 44th Drive in Queens last year. Unfortunately, due to the location of the street, we would need to get at least CB2, CB3, and CB8, and maybe CB9 on board for this to go forward. They’ve already voted on the project and DOT is planning to move forward already, so changes at this point would probably require DOT to represent everything again, which would take quite a while. In my opinion, it would seem more prudent to add bike lanes as a separate project. Fortunately, adding them would appear to be physically quite simple to do.

    That said, I would almost prefer to address traffic calming on other streets (Franklin, Lafayette, etc, before focusing on the bike striping, but that’s just, you know, my opinion, man.

    As recently as 2010, bike lanes would have been included in this project by default. Sadly, that is no longer the case.

  • dporpentine

    If I understand correctly, Rogers should be in for some de facto calming by virtue of soon becoming an SBS corridor. I doubt that will bring the speed down to any sane person’s satisfaction, but I assume it will break up the speedway effect a bit.

    And though I certainly agree that Classon needs calming–it’s so crazy that I don’t even consider it a possibility on my commute, even though it would be a very direct route–I have my doubts that this plan will improve it that much for biking, at least so long as there’s no striping. I think that wide parking lane will become a double-parking magnet, a jockey-for-front-of-the-line-at-the-light lane, and so on. Of course I’d be happy to be proved wrong.

  • Hilda

    I was present at a CB2 meeting (Dec 2011) where a community group, CLEXY, made a presentation to request a no left turn from Atlantic Ave onto Classon, add a bike lane, and to make it a single lane street.  This community group presentation was made AFTER the DOT presentation to narrow Classon by a month, or maybe two.  

    When the community group requested the bike lane be added, DOT noted that it was too late to change the current presentation, since these had been already given to a couple of CB’s.  FYI, the no left turn was requested (to be studied?) but only for trucks.

    That said, the stripes have not been painted yet…vocal community initiative can be music to DOT’s ears…

    CLEXY can be reached through Tish’s office.


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