In the early-morning hours of March 7, when two vehicles collided at the intersection of Avenue D and Utica Avenue in East Flatbush, it marked another strike at an intersection that many residents have come to fear.
It was also one of the most serious, leaving the 20-year-old driver of one vehicle fatally injured.
There have been 38 accidents at the intersection since January 2009, according to statistics provided by the city.
“It’s pretty much a hot area,” noted Deputy Inspector Corey Pegues, the commanding officer of the 67th Precinct.
While some of the accidents have been relatively minor, others have resulted in horrific injuries, said Terrence LaPierre, the president of the Avenue D Merchants Association and the second vice chair of Community Board 17.
“It’s a death trap,” LaPierre contended. “A woman waiting for the bus had her leg cut off. People are afraid to stand at the corner. It’s affecting business, and it’s affecting people waiting to go north and south along Utica.”
There has been damage to property as well as to people, said LaPierre. In various incidents, a church at the corner had its railing damaged and a car plowed into a restaurant, she said.
“It’s terrible,” LaPierre said. “There’s no regard for the light there anymore. If you make one light, you can catch the light a mile away, because all the lights are green, so they’re running it. Something has to be done.”
That something, local activists hope, will include traffic-calming measures.
To that end,CB 17 sent a letter to Brooklyn Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Joseph Palmieri on March 15 requesting a safety study “to determine the appropriate signage and/or signals necessary to eliminate the type of fatalities that continue to occur at the above mentioned location.”
The board has been “inundated with complaints” about the intersection, CB 17 District Manager Sherif Fraser asserted in the missive.
The intersection will be studied, said a DOT spokesperson, with an eye to improving safety there. Among the possible traffic engineering changes that could be made, the spokesperson said, are additional signage or updated roadway markings.
In the meantime, the police say they are monitoring the intersection. “We’re definitely on top of it,” Pegues told this paper.