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Want to stop DOT? Make our streets safer

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The Department of Transportation says that one-way streets are safer than two-way. Park Slope does not agree, so the Community Board’s transportation committee voted it down last week.

So the good news is that we are safe from this proposal to turn Seventh Avenue into a one-way, “get-out-of-Atlantic-Yards-free” highway. But the bad news is obvious: The DOT will be back.

If there are other traffic fatalities that grab the headlines (like the two horrible accidents on Third Avenue since 2004 that have killed three little kids), the DOT will be back with the same proposal, and next time the poobahs won’t ask our opinions: they will just do it.

At last week’s committee vote, people hissed, booed and shouted down the DOT’s proposal, which also called for making Sixth Avenue one-way. As a member of that committee, I can tell you that we did the right thing: we put our community’s interest in front of any individual needs (like the need to get to your coffee date on the other end of the Slope in three minutes flat) and the larger needs in our post-Atlantic Yards world (why should Park Slope have to deal with traffic Bruce Ratner is forcing on us?).

But we really do need to make our streets safer by ourselves. We hold that power in our hands, so use your steering wheel wisely. That is the best answer the city’s bad idea.

The reality is that we have too many cars. And we all know that when people start moving into Atlantic Yards and all the new buildings on Fourth Avenue, the number of cars will increase.

So I propose that Park Slope Drivers follow my “Five Ways to Drive Nice” list. If we do these things, not every day, but at least consistently, DOT will stick its plan where it belongs, in the dustbin of history:

1. Walk, bike or take the bus.

2. When that is not possible, give yourself five extra minutes to get where you need to go. Buy yourself a few new CDs, or put a few new songs on your iPod, and plug it in. Get yourself an earphone for the cell and take it easy. Really, what’s the rush?

3. Don’t double-park on the avenues. When you have to double-park, turn the corner and use a side street so avenue traffic is not affected.

4. Try not to drive during the most congested times (like school dismissal time). At 3 pm, every avenue is triple-parked with busses and cars. But if you wait just 15 minutes, the avenue will be clear. So wait, will ya?

5. Be neighborly. If we were all a little kinder to the other drivers, and a lot kinder to the pedestrians, we would have a nicer day. Really, no one likes the honking, the swearing, or the gestures. We all have somewhere to go, and we all want to get there in one piece and with peace of mind.

If we are claiming that we do not want to lose the small-town feel of Park Slope, let’s show some small-town courtesy when we are behind the wheel.

With safer drivers, we will have safer streets. Safer streets means there will be no reason to make changes, especially changes we have all ready rejected.

The Kitchen Sink

Big muffin news! The Two Little Red Hens — arguably the best bakery in the borough — is being renamed the Lady Bird Cafe. …

Can you design a Web site? Then the Park Slope Civic Council wants you to revamp its Web presence. Download the job application at the stodgy old site, www.parkslopeciviccouncil.org. …

The Fifth Avenue Business Improvement District Steering Committee is ready to go public. After months of morning breakfast meetings, the BID insiders will host other property owners, residents and the public to a meet-and-gree on March 29 at 7:30 pm (refreshments will be served!) in the historic Old Stone House in J.J. Byrne Park at Fifth Avenue and Third Street. …

We must have received 15 press releases after the shooting of those two unarmed auxiliary police officers in Greenwich Village from pols rushing to demand that such quasi-cops be fitted with bullet-proof vests. Our own Councilmember Bill DeBlasio led the way. …

The next day, we ran into DeBlasio taking advantage of “Dine in Brooklyn” week with a nice meal at the 12th Street Bar and Grill. …

Just in time for spring cleaning, the Lower East Side Ecology Center will collect unwanted electronic equipment from March 31-April 1 (10 am to 4 pm) and again on April 2 (4-7 pm) at J.J. Byrne Park. …

You have the CD, now see the live show! Courtney Kaiser, Dan Schorr and Suzi Shelton — stars of the Park Slope Parents CD — will host a kiddie Woodstock at Southpaw (125 Fifth Ave., between Sterling and St. Johns) to benefit the Park Slope Parents Web site. Tickets are $10 (adults).

Our own columnist, Nica Lalli, will be on the “TODAY” show on March 27 to talk about her just-published memoir, “Nothing: Something to Believe In.” She will mention The Brooklyn Paper repeatedly, won’t she?

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