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

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.”

  • Captplanet

    This would never have happened under Giuliani. If a city commissioner crossed the Mayor, Giuliani fired them, and they all knew it. So they never did. I guess it no longer works that way.

  • No one crossed the mayor. This had the approval of the mayor, whose commitment to safe streets is completely illusory.

  • Captplanet

    Have you been following the Rivington House fiasco? This mayor just doesn’t know what’s going on in his own administration. He’s too busy with road trips to Washington and stumping in the Midwest. He’s simply a shitty detached administrator.

  • Frank Kotter

    Corruption requires organization. I think you may be giving street level infrastructure allocation too much credit in that respect. Isn’t it best explained by lack of professionalism and poor management?

  • Maggie

    I’m really interested in who asked to destroy unobtrusive features that make the neighborhood safer for local business owners and kids heading to school. Hopefully this person has the guts to speak out, or their identity gets FOIAed.

    With Rivington House (which is a fiasco) at least it’s evident what the backroom goal was. But what is the upside to the community from making a dangerous street more dangerous and unwelcoming for residents, after years of community request and involvement, at their own expense?

  • neroden

    Correction, got the local law wrong. It still appears to be a NEPA violation.


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