MAP: Atlantic Avenue less fatal, more brutal

MAP: Atlantic Avenue less fatal, more brutal
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

Atlantic Avenue is less deadly but even more destructive than it was nearly a decade ago.

The city chose the dangerous thoroughfare to be among the first in line for the car-slowing treatment as part of Mayor DeBlasio’s Vision Zero push, which aims to bring traffic deaths to zero by 2024.

“We cannot wait for any more fatalities,” said Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo (D–Fort Greene) at a press conference last week. “Vision Zero needs to happen now.”

City data compiled by our crack number-crunching team shows that there were a horrifying 843 crashes along the stretch of road between the harbor and Flatbush Avenue during the past two years, up from 583 during a 22-month period in 2005 and 2006. The recent slew of collisions average out to more than one per day and caused a total of 173 injuries and one death, down from nine deaths between 2006 and 2008, but tragic nonetheless.

And preventable, road-safety advocates argue.

“This announcement brings long-overdue attention to a corridor plagued by traffic violence and reckless driving,” said Paul Steely White, executive director of the group Transportation Alternatives, in a statement.

Watch your step: Atlantic Avenue’s intersection with Hoyt Street in Boerum Hill saw 39 accidents between 2012 and 2013 and logged an astounding nine crashes in just more than a month in 2009.
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

The mayor’s Vision Zero push calls for overhauls to 50 corridors and intersections each year, including changes to street designs, stoplights, and speed limits. In response to the Thursday announcement by roads czar and recent Cobble Hill transplant Polly Trottenberg that Atlantic is at the top of her list, activist organizations including Transportation Alternatives called for such measures as a protected bike path and a dedicated-lane bus route along the unruly roadway.

One resident cited the intersection at Flatbush Avenue, where Atlantic widens heading away from the water and where 71 crashes occurred last year, as a prime candidate for a rejiggering.

“The wider street leads to faster traffic and longer pedestrian crosses, which can be frightening, especially for older residents and those with children,” said Gib Veconi, a member of the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council. “There’s tremendous room for improvement there.”

A few blocks beyond the arena, a motorist behind the wheel of a pickup truck struck jumped the curb at Atlantic and Clinton Street and killed Martha Atwater, a 48-year-old Brooklyn Heights resident in 2013. The Brooklyn Heights Association issued an award in her name at its annual meeting in February.

The most collision-prone intersection of all on the chaotic car-track is four miles beyond the bright lights of the Barclays Center at the eight-lane-on-five-lane crossing at Pennsylvania Avenue in Cypress Hills, which logged a whopping 115 crashes in 2013 and 109 in 2012, resulting in 62 injuries.

Reach reporter Matthew Perlman at (718) 260-8310. E-mail him at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @matthewjperlman.
Danger zone: The intersection of Atlantic and Pennsylvania avenues in Cypress Hills takes home the title of most dangerous along the Avenue of Death and Destruction.
Photo by Elizabeth Graham