Dyker Heights residents: Study traffic before you put in lights

By Helen Klein

Dyker Heights residents are livid over the fact that as the city is moving forward with a new bike lane and new traffic lights before completing a study they hoped would solve the traffic nightmare recent “improvements” have wrought upon them.

“It’s mind-boggling,” said Fran Vella-Marrone, president of the Dyker Heights Civic Association. “It’s like they operate in a vacuum.”

Vella-Marrone and others at last week’s meeting of the group say they were promised the study after complaing to the Department of Transportation that it’s patchwork approach to traffic in the area was creating more problems then it was solving.

Residents were angered by changes in traffic patterns caused by new traffic lights at 10th Avenue and 74th Street, and 10th Avenue and 76th Street, along with adjustments made at the Fort Hamilton Parkway exit from the Gowanus Expressway — which they claim led to massive tie-ups andaggressive driving in the neighborhood.

But more lights on the way, reported Josephine Beckmann, the district manager of Community Board 10, who said that two new traffic lights would be installed, at 11th Avenue and 70th Street, and 11th Avenue and 66th Street, by September.

“The more time that goes by, the more lights that go up,” she said. “We really hope they would do a study that focuses on the impacts of the changes, rather than doing one intersection at a time.”

The promised study by the Department of Transportation will look at the community in 10-block grids in hopes of getting a birds-eye view of how traffic actually flows in the neighborhood.

Contacted for comment, the DOT did not say when the study would commence.

A spokesperson, however, said that the agency was currently collecting information that is needed to design the study, with an eye toward which intersections would see the most benefit from short-term and long-term improvements.

But that’s not enough for the residents who say they’ve been adversly affected by the bad moves of the past, like the changes at the Fort Hamilton exit.

“You can go a block away and see what the effect is,” said Carol Kidney. “They missed that completely.”