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DOT, NYPD Remove New Eastern Parkway Ped Islands for Once-a-Year Parade

island_museum
The city is removing two pedestrian islands from Eastern Parkway to accommodate the West Indian Day Parade, but the parade has passed three other islands for years, including this one by the Brooklyn Museum. Image: Google Earth

DOT and NYPD are destroying two concrete pedestrian islands the city installed less than a year ago on Eastern Parkway at the request of organizers of next weekend's West Indian Day Parade, the Post reports.

Instead of making the parade accommodate permanent pedestrian infrastructure, the city is undoing safety measures that protect people 365 days out of the year to accommodate an event on a single day.

The medians -- at the intersections of Kingston and Brooklyn Avenues -- were installed in December as part of a Safe Routes to Schools plan for Arista Prep Academy and Nursery School and the Oholei Torah yeshiva that was in the works for 10 years [PDF]. The intersection of Kingston and Eastern Parkway is also a Vision Zero priority intersection where seven people were severely injured from 2009 and 2013.

The West Indian Day Parade draws more than a million people to Eastern Parkway every Labor Day. DOT must have been aware of the parade when planning the project.

It's not clear why the parade is incompatible with the islands, especially since the route has already passed by three concrete pedestrian islands west of Washington Avenue for years. Those islands will not be removed. Parade officials were nevertheless able to convince the city to remove the two new concrete islands.

DOT told the Post the islands were being removed "due to safety concerns involving parade participants" and would not divulge the cost of installation and removal. "We are looking at ­potential replacement treatments in the area and for the long term," spokesperson Scott Gastel said.

Residents who fought for years to making crossing Eastern Parkway safer are now seeing their work undone. "It compromises the safety of the people. It’s not good," Debora Goldstein told the Post. “The parade is one day out of the year. The main thing is the pedestrians, the kids and the schoolchildren."

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