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Eyes on the Street: DOT Rolls Out Three New Mid-Block Crossings on Atlantic Avenue

Three new mid-block crossings began to take shape last week on Atlantic Avenue — recently dubbed "the new Boulevard of Death."

One of the new mid-block crosswalks on Atlantic Avenue (and a driver parked in it).

Walk this way, cross this way.

Three new mid-block crossings began to take shape last week in downtown Brooklyn, near where a speeding driver killed a 31-year-old woman on Atlantic Avenue — a major roadway that travels through two boroughs recently dubbed the new "Boulevard of Death."

Freshly painted crosswalks and new traffic signals will not only help to slow down drivers, but also encourage more foot traffic and safe crossings to and from the thoroughfare’s many mom-and-pop shops, Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez said.

“Atlantic Avenue is a premier shopping destination, though its long blocks mean visitors often have to walk far distances to cross the street safely,” said Rodriguez. “These new mid-block crossings will make it significantly easier to stroll the avenue and enhance safety by better managing traffic through the corridor.”

Pols, advocates, and grieving friends and loved ones of Katherine Harris — who was killed in the crosswalk on Atlantic Avenue near Clinton Street in April — had called on the city make the notorious speedway safer for pedestrians.

Rodriguez's Department of Transportation heeded the call. The agency studied the strip between Smith and Nevins streets, and found that roughly between 550 and 650 pedestrians crossed Atlantic Avenue mid-block during a five-hour period. DOT crews last week began installing three news crossings between Bond and Nevins streets, Hoyt and Bond streets, and Smith and Hoyt streets.

But the work omitted blocks east of Nevins Street and west of Smith Street — including where the driver hit and killed Harris.

And as of Monday afternoon, when Streetsblog visited the thoroughfare, crews had only applied paint to one of the crosswalks — between Smith and Hoyt streets.

Crosswalk where?

Motorists, meanwhile, seemed to not get the message: A handful of drivers, including one behind the wheel of a white Tesla with a placard on its dash, parked just centimeters away from the start of the new white paint.

A Tesla parked basically in the crosswalk.Julianne Cuba

Others loaded and unloaded goods from what should be inside the crosswalk, right in front of the traffic signal, with impunity.

Brooklyn Heights Council Member Lincoln Restler applauded the new measures, but said the city must do more to make the deadly thoroughfare safer, especially near where Harris was killed — an already dangerous area that's compounded by traffic coming and going from the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway.

On Atlantic Avenue between Boerum Place and Third Avenue, there have been 241 injury-causing crashes since 2016, injuring 313 people and killing two pedestrians. And on Atlantic Avenue between Hicks Street and Boerum Place, three people — including two pedestrians and one motorist — were killed in 104-injury causing crashes during the same time period, according to city stats compiled by Crashmapper.

“Our office requested mid-block crossings along Atlantic Avenue, and DOT’s study found them to be warranted between Smith and Nevins Streets," Restler said.

"Mid-block crossings are a critical step in making this dangerous corridor safer. We are continuing to push aggressively for changes on Atlantic along the Brooklyn Heights and Cobble Hill border."

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