Board battles Ave. S turn ban

Members of a local civic panel say the city is taking a wrong turn by planning to ban traffic from going down Flatbush and Utica avenues from Avenue S, claiming bureaucrats misunderstood them when they asked them to calm traffic two blocks away.

Members of Community Board 18 say they think city officials got confused last month when they met with them to discuss problems at the neighborhoods deadliest intersection — Avenue U and Flatbush, where three pedestrians were killed and several dozen car accidents occurred in 2009, according to a Crash-Stat map provided by Transportation Alternatives, a pro-pedestrian and bicycle group.

They claim that the city’s takeaway from that meeting was to ban all turns off Avenue S at both Flatbush and Utica avenues— forcing motorists to take a side street if they want to get from S onto two of the borough’s main arteries.

“I think they missed the boat on this one,” said CB18 District Manager Dottie Turano, who announced the city’s Avenue S plans at the board’s monthly meeting on Nov. 16. “Sometimes I wonder if all of these guys [in the Department of Transportation] are on the same page.”

Board member John Manzola agreed.

“When you give the city a problem to solve, sometimes they fix the problem well and sometimes they do it terribly,” he said. “This is one of those terrible times.”

But a Department of Transportation spokesman said that the plans for Avenue S aren’t set in stone, and they are simply based on recommendations made at the October meeting.

“It was neither a DOT suggestion nor a DOT proposal to ban any turns from Avenue S, but rather a recommendation from an audience member,” the spokesman said. “We will take it, and several other ideas, into consideration once we begin our analysis.”

During their discussions a month ago, board members said they did request a pedestrian walkway across Flatbush Avenue at Avenue U, but city officials said that neck downs and more signage — like the no left- or right- turn signs expected to be placed on Avenue S — would alleviate traffic concerns and keep people safe.

Reach reporter Thomas Tracy at ttracy@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2525.

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