City: There’s only ‘one way’ of looking at Martense

A Flatbush community board approved a controversial city plan to turn Martense Street into a one-way route between Flatbush and Bedford avenues to help improve the safety at nearby Church Avenue — provided that the city install humps to keep drivers from speeding on the side street.

The proposal calls for Martense Street to run eastbound from Flatbush Avenue instead of both ways in hopes of relieving the congestion at the intersection of Flatbush and Church avenue — the most accident-prone location in the neighborhood, cops say.

In addition to the humps, Community Board 14 demanded the removal of a traffic light at Flatbush Avenue and Martense Street to prevent backups between Martense Street and Church Avenue. And the board requested that the issue be revisited in one year.

Some residents are concerned that there will be a huge increase in traffic on Martense Street — CB14’s tweaks to the plan notwithstanding.

“Sending all that traffic down our block would be a problem,” said Deborah Phillips, who lives on the block. “I have two young children, and even crossing the street currently is a problem because of cars racing down the block.”

A Transportation Department engineer Linda Shurman couldn’t say how much traffic would end up using Martense as a shortcut to Church Avenue.

“That would be hard for us to estimate since we don’t know how many people would use Martense to take the circuitous route to Church,” Shurman told Community Board 14.

The 70th Precinct’s traffic safety officer said that he didn’t expect any uptick in traffic on Martense Street as a result of the move to decrease some traffic on Flatbush Avenue.

“We are looking to decrease traffic turning onto Flatbush,” said Officer Michael Maher, citing the number of accidents in the area of the Flatbush and Church intersection — 200 over the past three years.

But resident Rickie Tulloch predicted that there would be more congestion, not less, from eliminating another westbound route to Flatbush Avenue.

“It means Church Avenue automatically becomes more congested, so what you won’t be alleviating the problem, you’ll be causing more problems,” he said.

But Maher said that the current traffic pattern increases congestion due to cars entering Flatbush Avenue from Martense Street.

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