These Windsor Terrace residents are not one direction fans.
A city proposal to calm traffic on Seeley Street by turning it one-way will actually make it easier for people to speed on the narrow road unless the changes also include speed humps, crosswalks, and stop signs to get in their way, said locals who came to rail against the idea on Community Board 7’s Transportation Committee on Monday night.
“Without a stop sign, without a speed hump, turning Seeley into a one-way creates a license to speed,” said Eric Silver, who lives off Seeley Street on Temple Court, at a meeting of. “It doesn’t slow anything down.”
Community Board 7 reached out to the Department of Transportation last year after Seeley Street residents complained about reckless drivers sideswiping their parked cars, as there is little room for motorists heading in opposite directions to pass each other on the skinny street, according to the board’s district manager Jeremy Laufer.
In response, the city came back with a proposal to eliminate Prospect Park-bound traffic on the street — except over the bridge spanning the Prospect Expressway between 18th and 19th streets, which would remain two-way.
But the idea was met with ridicule when reps from the transit agency revealed the plan to a packed room in PS 154, where locals argued that the road’s current narrow, two-way design is the only thing forcing the yahoos who plague the stretch to cool their jets, because drivers are forced to slow when passing other vehicles.
“The only thing that slows anybody down on Seeley is that you have to pretty much come to a complete stop passing a car going the other way,” said Seeley Street resident Faith Rose.
The change would also force Seeley Street residents to take lengthy detours just to reach Prospect Park Southwest, according to another Seeley resident.
“I would have to go 10 minutes out of my way to go around,” said Neil Eisenberg.
The residents might have been more receptive if it included more safety upgrades for Seeley Street — which has no crosswalks and only one stop sign between Prospect Park Southwest and McDonald Avenue — and a more holistic view of Windsor Terrace traffic patterns, which will be thrown into disarray if the one-way change goes ahead, Eisenberg said.
“I would be for it if the proposal made changes to 11th Avenue becoming two ways,” he said. “It needs to be done in conjunction with stop signs and traffic signals and cameras that can help reduce the speeding and create more safe places for pedestrians to cross.”
The transportation department claims a one-way street would be inherently safer for pedestrians, because they’d only have to look one way before crossing, and that reworking two-way roads as one-way has not historically led to an increase in speeding, agency spokeswoman Alana Morales said.
Still, she said, the city will not go ahead with any changes to Seeley Street without the community board’s okay — which seems unlikely given the showing at Monday’s committee meeting.
But not everyone was put off by the pitch, and the prospect of spending less on side-swipe damage was appealing to at least a few locals.
“I’m concerned about safety and speeding for sure, but I also have replaced three side mirrors in the last two years,” said resident Colleen Devery.