CB 18 wants footbridge over congested Flatbush Avenue

If they can’t get across Flatbush Avenue, why not go over it?

Such is the mindset behind Community Board 18’s pie in the sky idea to erect a pedestrian footbridge over Flatbush Avenue and Avenue U, an old plan the board’s executive committee wants to resurrect to combat the flood of vehicles expected to roll past the intersection with the impending opening of a new Lowe’s Home Improvement store.

Board Chair Sol Needle said that the board has put in their pedestrian bridge request with the city’s Department of Transportation.

“We’re doing this in view of the fact that the new Lowe’s is expected to bring 2,500 additional cars to the area during the week and an additional 3,500 cars on the weekend,” he said, adding that he would also hope that the DOT would, for the same reasons, consider building a second pedestrian walkway east-west across Avenue U near the new Lowe’s, which is currently being built in a shopping center behind Kings Plaza.

Once those cars come, it will become virtually impossible for pedestrians to cross Flatbush Avenue, Needle explained.

“I think there is absolutely no reason why this shouldn’t be considered, especially in light of the increased traffic volume generated by the opening of the new Lowe’s,” Needle said. “We have to rethink think the situation.”

Needle added that the “beneficiaries of the bridge” — Kings Plaza and Lowe’s — should be “encouraged to help defray some of the cost.”

Community Board 18 District Manager Dottie Turano said that the board has asked for the pedestrian walkway “for several years.”

“We even told them (the DOT) that we could get some of the funding through our elected officials, but nobody has done anything about it,” she said, adding that since Kings Plaza has recently raised their parking fees, more and more motorists will look for parking on the Marine Park side of Flatbush Avenue or in the shopping mall where the new Lowe’s will open.

“[These cars] will be spilling into our community,” she said.

Despite their concerns, the intersection of Avenue U and Flatbush Avenue hasn’t seen a pedestrian fatality since 2006, according to a recent study conducted by the Tri-State Transportation Campaign.

DOT officials said that no studies for a pedestrian bridge have been conducted at Flatbush and Avenue U.

Still the DOT said they “will continue to work with the Community Board to explore ways to improve safety for pedestrians and other street users.”