Dangerous intersection gets a party

A Ditmas Park intersection has become so dangerous, residents held a block party in its dishoner.

People living near the corner of Stratford and Cortelyou roads say Sunday’s traffic-calming party was held because speeding traffic, poor visibility, and an influx of pedestrians has turned the intersection into a danger zone.

“Because there’s no traffic signal and no crosswalk, pedestrians don’t even have a shot,” said Debi Ryan, manager of Vox Pop Cafe, located at the corner. “You really do kind of take your life in your hands crossing the street.”

So on Sunday, Stratford Road between Cortelyou and Dorchester roads was shut down in part to raise awareness of just how dangerous this once quiet area has become — and where residents want to see changes soon.

“This is a we-have-to-find-a-way-to-calm-down-the-corner event,” said Ryan. “Give me a stop sign. Give me a traffic light. Give me a reason for cars to slow down.”

The block between Stratford Road and Coney Island Avenue has been particularly affected by the increase in Cortelyou Road’s popularity, with new businesses opening, including a pediatrician’s office, as well as the opening of a new condo at the intersection’s northeast corner. Problems are exacerbated by the configuration of Cortelyou Road, which zigzags across Coney Island Avenue — and where residents say accidents are occurring more than ever.

There have been four accidents at the intersection so far this year. There were only three accidents in all of 2009, according to the 70th Precinct.

At the block party, residents filled out a survey meant to build the case that the intersection needs better traffic control in-between riding bikes, making chalk drawings on the sidewalk, or just relaxing in the shade cast by Vox Pop’s awning.

“The idea is to get momentum behind implementing pedestrian safety or traffic calming measures at the intersection,” said Anne Pope, the executive director of Sustainable Flatbush, which, along with Vox Pop and the Ditmas Park Blog, sponsored the event.

Pope noted that even though the Department of Transportation is studying Cortelyou Road, it’s doing it at the wrong time.

“They are doing the study during the summer,” she added. “The statistics they will get won’t accurately reflect what goes on during the rest of the year.”

Department of Transportation Spokesman Scott Gastel would only say that the “corridor is still under review.”

That doesn’t seem to be enough for residents who attended the block party.

“There’s too much traffic here,” said Jeffrey Price, who helped out a bicyclist who was hit by a car at the intersection this year. “I sit here all the time. It’s just too crowded.”