The fix is in for Flatbush Avenue

for The Brooklyn Paper
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The city has found a triangular solution to the traffic problems on Flatbush Avenue from Atlantic Avenue to Grand Army Plaza.

Transportation officials say the perilous stretch — treated like a raceway by drivers — will be safer once four three-sided islands are expanded and converted into plazas with seating and trees.

“It’s a safety enhancement,” said Craig Hammerman, the district manager of Communiity Board 6, which hosted a presentation on the project last Tuesday. “And more pedestrians in the area will mean more visiting and shopping on Flatbush Avenue.”

The eight-block stretch has been under the spotlight for years, but the need for a traffic-calming fix was highlighted in February when a pedestrian was killed in a hit and run accident.

The crash led to the elimination of some left turns, but traffic speeds have not diminished.

The expanded plazas at Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, and Carlton avenues are another attempt to reduce the sketchy situation by giving pedestrians wider side- and crosswalks.

Sharon Davidson, the executive director for the North Flatbush Business Improvement District, said that the expanded triangles would force turning drivers to slow down. Plus, the spaces will be more inviting.

“There will be tables and chairs, more trees and new benches — it will be more plaza-like,” said Davidson, citing a similar plaza at Ninth Avenue and 14th Street in Manhattan, a neighboring city.

Even solar-powered trash compactors will be installed along Flatbush Avenue as part of the $2.7-million project.

The Department of Transportation expects to finish the project in 18 months.

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Reasonable discourse

Howard from Park Slope says:
Not sure if I am understanding the article correctly, but the solution to the Flatbush Avenue mess between Atlantic Avenue and Grand Army Plaza is to reduce the 2 lanes (really 1 1/2) to one lane and have more tables and chairs along Flatbush Avenue and spend $2.7m of taxpayers $$$ which right the city doesn't have. How is this solution going to improve the flow of traffic? How is this going to encourage people to shop and spend more time with the merchants along Flatbush Avenue? I must be missing something.
Oct. 7, 2010, 8:35 am
Snoop from Prospect Heights says:
Flatbush Avenue is a nightmare. Sure, left turns were eliminated after someone close to the Mayor's office was tragically killed, but when I walk along Flatbush to work every day, I see one car after another making those illegal turns. About once a week, I almost get hit.

Who is enforcing these traffic rules?

The new love affair with the livery van drivers is also a bit baffling if you consider how recklessly most of them drive. Stand and watch the circus at Park Place and Flatbush. As soon as the northbound light on Flatbush turns red, they careen off to the right onto Carlton, usually blow the stop sign so they can beat the cars coming across Flatbush on Park, speed up to Prospect Place, blow that stop sign and make a left onto Prospect, speed down Prospect to Flatbush where they turn a quick right, all trying to gain two short blocks on the light.

Who the heck is watching these livery vans and enforcing the traffic rules on them? And why aren't they restricted to main roads (if they must be allowed to exist at all)???

Enforcement of the existing laws seems to be the real problem here. What do the cops do???
Oct. 7, 2010, 2:21 pm
Daniel Harris from Park Slope says:
I don't think Stephen Brown actually looked at the plans being proposed by NFBID and the DOT. No where is there a traffic calming change on Flatbush Avenue, but there sure will be a mess where the "improved" triangle parks are concerned. The picture shows a cement truck, one of hundreds of trucks a day that use Flatbush Avenue. Nice place for a coffee? What, I can't hear you.

Furthermore, the triangle park at Eighth Avenue has two plans, the one favored by the NFBID closes St John's Place (a major alternative to Flatbush Avenue during rush hour) between Eighth Avenue and Plaza Street/Flatbush Avenue. This not only denies street access to the 60 families who live at One Plaza, but will only exacerbates an already bad situation.

That the DOT refuses to put a three phase light at the corner of St John's and Plaza/Flatbush is a mystery. There is one at the other end of Plaza Street West at Union and PPW/GAP. The DOT/NFBID plan to close St John's Place is changing a problem into a mess.

Daniel Harris, President
One Plaza Owners Corporation

While it is true the triangle parks could use some cosmetic work, one has to consider the poor record of maintenance of those parks and with funds short, it is hard to believe these "improved" parks will be maintained since they are not part of the Parks Department, but the DOT.
Oct. 12, 2010, 10:21 am

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