A 2017 Resolution for DOT: Make Times Plaza Safer for Walking

DOT presented this safety plan for Times Plaza in August. Advocates want to ensure it doesn't gather dust. Image: DOT
DOT presented this safety plan for Times Plaza in August. Advocates want to ensure it doesn't gather dust. Image: DOT

On Saturday, Brooklyn elected officials gathered in the cold with volunteers for Transportation Alternatives and called on the city to improve the hellacious walking environment at the intersection of Flatbush, Atlantic, and Fourth Avenues.

“We want to see shovels in the ground,” said T.A. volunteer Kenneth Miraski. “Every day that we wait is another chance that somebody can be killed or hurt on these streets.”

Council Member Brad Lander. Photo: David Meyer
Council Member Brad Lander didn’t expect safety improvements at Times Plaza to take very long. Photo: David Meyer

The three streets that converge at this location, known as Times Plaza, are all wide avenues with some of the worst crash rates in Brooklyn. To navigate the area, which includes the biggest transit hub in the borough, the Barclays Center, and the Atlantic Terminal mall, pedestrians must contend with long, oblique crossings and several lanes of two-way traffic. Since 2008, four pedestrians and one cyclist have been killed at or near the intersection.

Speaking at Times Plaza in February, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, Council Member Brad Lander, and Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon blasted DOT and Barclays Center developer Forest City Ratner for proposing landscaping and amenities for Times Plaza before coming up with a pedestrian safety plan for the area.

In August, DOT presented an initial safety plan [PDF], calling for median pedestrian islands, curb extensions, and the reduction of some traffic lanes. Nearly four months later, not much has been implemented, except for a median island on Fourth Avenue below Atlantic.

“It didn’t seem like it would need to be this long, honestly,” Lander said on Saturday. “It doesn’t need to take that long to finalize the plan and implement the plan for this intersection.”

Saturday’s rally coincided with the release of a TA report outlining what DOT should do along the whole 10-mile stretch of Atlantic Avenue, which is supposed to be a flagship safety project in Mayor de Blasio’s “Vision Zero Great Streets” initiative. We’ll have more on the report later today.

Most pedestrians struck at Times Plaza are hit while walking in the crosswalk with the signal to cross. Image: DOT
Most pedestrians struck at Times Plaza were in the crosswalk with the signal. Image: DOT

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Flatbush and Atlantic: Hellacious, Deadly, Likely to Get Worse

|
Yesterday Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn posted this photo of Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues, as seen at 8:45 a.m. "With Atlantic Yards’s 17,000 new residents, and an 18,000 seat arena in use approximately 220 days per year, this gridlock would be the good ol’ days," DDDB said. Without major changes it won’t get better for pedestrians […]

DOT Reveals a Flatbush Ave Pedestrian Safety Plan By Atlantic and Fourth

|
Last night DOT presented its initial concept for pedestrian safety improvements near the convergence of Flatbush, Atlantic, and Fourth avenues in Brooklyn [PDF]. The intersection is located at the center of Brooklyn’s largest transit hub, where the Long Island Railroad meets eight subway lines and four MTA bus routes. The Brooklyn Academy of Music and the Barclays […]

Brooklyn Electeds to DOT: Put Safety First at Atlantic and Flatbush

|
About a dozen people braved the cold Saturday morning to call for pedestrian safety improvements at Brooklyn’s Times Plaza and along the whole Atlantic Avenue corridor. Times Plaza is the triangular public space at the convergence of Atlantic, Flatbush, and Fourth avenues. At a public meeting last month, local residents were disappointed that the redesign proposed […]

Why Not Fix the Flatbush/Atlantic/Fourth Hellscape With a Traffic Circle?

|
Could a traffic circle tame cars and trucks at the chaotic intersection of Flatbush, Atlantic, and Fourth avenues in Brooklyn? A team of architects thinks so. Earlier this week DOT held a public workshop about improving pedestrian safety in this area, where heavy traffic on wide, two-way streets meeting at irregular angles creates exceptional hazards. Motorists injured […]

DOT to Present Ideas for Brooklyn’s Most Notorious Intersection

|
The confluence of Flatbush, Atlantic, and Fourth Avenues is a traffic nightmare of epic proportions right smack next to a huge transit hub and shopping center. (We hear some sort of arena and housing complex might get built there too.) Crossing the street here is an unwelcome adventure for thousands of pedestrians every day, and […]