Make Meeker Avenue meeker, say activists

Make Meeker Avenue meeker, say activists
Meeker Avenue in Williamsburg.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

It is Brooklyn’s meanest street, and they want to tame it.

Safe street activists are rallying to find a way to make Williamsburg’s Meeker Avenue — the ironically named thoroughfare that hugs the Brooklyn–Queens Expressway in Williamsburg — a safer place for pedestrians.

Claiming the avenue’s wide lanes coupled with exits from the highway lead to an inordinate amount of speeding on the strip, making it impossible for walkers to get from one side to the other.

“I have witnessed people trying to get across with no clue what they are supposed to be doing, cars coming from every which angle, and people almost getting hit,” said Rachel Albetski of Bushwick.

In fact, the avenue has become a regular site for death and destruction. Between December of 2012 and December of 2014, there were three fatalities and 104 injuries on Meeker between its borders of Newtown Creek and Flushing Avenue, said Luke Ohlson of Transportation Alternatives, a pro-pedestrian group.

And cars aren’t the only problem.

Ohlson said that pedestrians also have to weave their way past bicyclists who also speed down the roadway.

“We have to find a way to change that,” he said.

So a meeting will be held this week to figure out a way to make things safer.

Transportation Alternatives is hoping that the city will install narrower lanes and bollards, as it did on the section of Park Avenue that runs under the expressway in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill. Activists are also hoping for some art or greenery.

“This is now a dangerous and unfriendly environment that facilitates unsafe driving and uninviting conditions,” said Ohlson. “It could be a safe space that is the focal point of a vibrant neighborhood.” The Make Meeker Move Launch Event will happen at El Puente at 211 S. Fourth Street between at Roebling Street at 6:30 pm on April 16.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at dfurfaro@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her at twitter.com/DanielleFurfaro.