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Myrtle-Wyckoff Plaza Gets Support From Queens CB 5 Transpo Committee

4:46 PM EDT on June 22, 2016

Reconfiguring this dangerous intersection with a car-free plaza will simplify vehicle movements and reduce the potential for turning drivers to hit pedestrians. Image: DOT
Reconfiguring this dangerous intersection with a car-free plaza will simplify vehicle movements and reduce the potential for turning drivers to hit pedestrians. Image: DOT
The new plaza simplified vehicle movements and reduced the potential for turning drivers to hit pedestrians. Image: DOT [PDF]

Last night, the Queens Community Board 5 transportation committee endorsed DOT's safety plan for the Myrtle-Wyckoff transit hub on the border between Brooklyn and Queens, including the creation of a one-block pedestrian plaza on Wyckoff Avenue between Gates and Myrtle [PDF].

The project straddles two community board districts and was voted down by Brooklyn CB 4 last week. DOT can proceed without a vote from CB 4, however, if the agency chooses. Council Member Antonio Reynoso has said he supports the project and wants the city to take action.

The stakes for public safety are high. Three pedestrians were struck and killed at the intersection between 2009 and 2014, including Edgar Torres, who was hit while he had the right of way despite an initial round of changes to simplify vehicle movements at the site. The current project would do much more to prevent pedestrians from being struck by turning motorists.

Following a DOT presentation last night, the committee held two separate votes: one unanimously in favor of the plaza, and a second in favor of converting Wyckoff between Myrtle Avenue and Madison Street to one-way southbound traffic flow, which would reduce the number of potential conflicts between drivers and pedestrians. Only one committee member voted against the latter motion, according to CB 5 District Manager Gary Giordano.

"The committee was compelled by the notion that reducing the intersection from 20 possible movements to five would make it much less chaotic and much more understandable for pedestrians and motorists," said CB 5 transportation committee member Toby Sheppard Bloch.

The full community board will vote on the project at its July 13 meeting, which begins at 7:30 p.m. at Christ the King High School, located at 68-02 Metropolitan Avenue.

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