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Eyes on the Street: Eastern Parkway Gets Removable Rubber Ped Islands

Photo: Zeke Mermell
The rubber pedestrian island at Eastern Parkway and Kingston Avenue, where the city ripped out a concrete island earlier this year. Photo: Zeke Mermell

DOT has installed "removable rubber pedestrian islands" at two intersections on Eastern Parkway, two months after Mayor de Blasio authorized the removal of concrete pedestrian islands to ostensibly make room for the West Indian Day Parade.

The concrete islands were only in place for about eight months. They were installed last December at Kingston Avenue and Brooklyn Avenue in response to an extensive public process for a Safe Routes to School project, but they were removed mere days before the parade without any public notification.

After the concrete islands were torn up, de Blasio said the city would find a "long-term solution" that would not require parade floats, which come down the boulevard just once each year, to "navigate the very tight space."

Yesterday, DOT began installing removable rubber islands in place of the concrete ones. The new islands are made of modular components and roughly match the dimensions of the ones they replaced, but they cannot anchor the heavy-duty bell bollards that provide a line of defense in the event a motorist drives into the refuge. This is the first such "removable rubber pedestrian refuge island" in the city, according to DOT.

Eastern Parkway between Grand Army Plaza and Ralph Avenue is a Vision Zero priority corridor with five priority intersections, including Kingston Avenue, where seven people were injured from 2009 to 2013. Artista Prep Academy and Nursery School and Oholei Torah Yeshiva are nearby.

DOT crews began installing removable plastic pedestrian islands on Eastern Parkway yesterday. Photo: DOT
Crews working on the rubber island at Kingston Avenue yesterday. Photo: DOT
DOT crews began installing removable plastic pedestrian islands on Eastern Parkway yesterday. Photo: DOT

The installation appeared to be mostly but not entirely complete by this morning, after starting yesterday. While it may seem like a lot of trouble to go through for a parade, the quick installation could prove useful at other locations. Rubber islands probably cost less than concrete islands (DOT has yet to respond to a request for cost details) and can be implemented much faster.

DOT said it will be installing two other rubber islands and "will observe all four islands throughout the year and make a determination on how we will proceed with the rubber pedestrian islands moving forward."

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