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City plans safety improvements for dangerous Ralph Avenue corridor

Safety first: The Department of Transportation is suggesting refuge islands, mid-block signals, and new traffic patterns along Ralph Avenue in Flatlands to improve public safety.
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Locals are hopeful these street-safety improvements will “Yield” results.

The city plans to add pedestrian islands, mid-block signals, curb extensions, and more improvements to a deadly stretch of Ralph Avenue in Flatlands where drivers failing to yield to pedestrians and left turns have been the major cause of crashes.

“Not yielding is a particular problem at this corridor,” said an official from the Department of Transportation who presented the plan to Community Board 18 at its April 18 meeting.

The stretch of Ralph Avenue from avenues J to T is a Vision Zero “Priority Corridor,” singled out for special attention by the mayor’s office due to the high number of severe accidents there.

From 2012 to 2016, one person was killed and nine were seriously injured in traffic incidents along that corridor, according to city stats. Overall, 213 pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers have been injured during this time.

The Department of Transporta­tion’s plan includes:

• Building five new pedestrian refuge islands to shorten crossing distances and calm traffic.

• Adding mid-block signals at the Georgetown Shopping Center to allow the building of pedestrian crossings there and improve vehicle access to the area.

• Expanding the refuge at Ralph and Mill avenues to allow more people to congregate there.

• Banning left turns from Ralph Avenue on to Avenue K while heading towards Avenue L to accommodate a pedestrian refuge and reduce accidents.

• Extending the size of the curb at avenues Ralph and M.

• Upgrading several pedestrian curb cuts.

The plan came after locals lobbied for the city to do something about the hazardous stretch of road, according to the agency official.

“We’ve received community requests for this corridor,” she said.

Board members expect that the planned changes will improve safety on the treacherous six blocks, and CB18 district manager said the transportation department assured her that it will take more action if necessary.

“This isn’t a closed door,” said Dottie Turano. “If they see it’s not working, they’re the first ones to respond.”

After the presentation, one man raised concerns over the possibility of bike or bus lanes on this part of Ralph Avenue. Bus and bike lanes have drawn the ire of some in other parts of Southern Brooklyn, but the department assuaged their fears.

“We’re not proposing any bus or bike lanes,” said the official to a lengthy round of applause.

The city hopes to start the work early this summer, according to the department official.

Reach reporter Adam Lucente at alucente@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow him on Twitter @Adam_Lucente.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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