Calm down! City wants to slow traffic with extra parking

The Brooklyn Paper
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Now try to get off the BQE.

Drivers will have to hit the breaks in Cobble Hill thanks to a plan that uses parked cars to make school-side intersections feel less like a NASCAR raceway.

The city wants to narrow Hicks Street near Union Street, where drivers rush to and from the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, by allowing dozens of cars to park along the thoroughfare during morning rush hour — a tactic the city is increasingly using as a “traffic calming” measure in Brownstone Brooklyn.

The Department of Transportation says a thinner street will help slow drivers, prevent highway spillover traffic and create “a buffer” for walkers crossing the street, which is just few blocks from PS 29.

The road change frees-up roughly 120 parking spaces on the two-lane northbound from 7–10 am on weekdays by scrapping one of the area’s leftover strip of rush hour “no standing” signs — a rule that makes it easier for drivers to speed.

Neighbors are cheering the plan, saying the well-used Cobble Hill-to-Columbia Waterfront District path is a death trap for pedestrians, partly due to a chain-link fence that makes it hard for drivers to see humans.

“The safety issue is crossing over the BQE — but this could be the right prescription for it,” said neighbor Brian McCormick.

In February, neighbors and parents demanded the city make the street safer, claiming it’s only a matter of time before a child gets hit on the way to school.

Hicks Street has two lanes of northbound traffic and one lane of southbound traffic, separated by a median that serves as an overpass above the highway.

The city began changing its policy of allowing drivers to use Brooklyn’s residential streets as service roads in 1999 when morning rush hour “no standing” signs were removed from Clinton Street between Atlantic and Hamilton avenues in Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens — two neighborhoods where residents had complained for years that hurried drivers used their streets instead of staying on the highway. The city called the Clinton Street plan a “success,” then brought back rush hour parking to Smith Street, Atlantic Avenue, and other nearby streets.

The Department of Transportation recently conducted a new study to examine driving patterns on Hicks Street and determine how to make it safer, according to an agency spokeswoman.

“The current configurat­ion’s wide roadway contributes to speeding,” said spokeswoman Nicole Garcia. “Adjusting parking regulations can help narrow the roadway.”

Community Board 6 will review the plan on Sept. 12 and the city can then give it an official green light.

Reach reporter Natalie O'Neill at or by calling her at (718) 260-4505.
Updated 1:48 am, September 13, 2012
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Reasonable discourse

mike from GP says:
I would prefer not adding parking (since more parking generates more car trips), but if this slows down the crazy drivers coming off the BQE, so be it!

Long-term, the BQE probably needs to come down.

Glad the DOT is doing this!
Sept. 13, 2012, 6:24 am
Or from Yellow Hook says:
Soon to be followed by the favorite White Whine:

"But what about the Pollllllooootion!"

Learn now, that cars and trucks waiting to pay a toll do not pollute. Making the delivery of your favorite organic artisanal cupcakes take an extra hour will not increase the price. "Calmed" traffic, creates a traffic jam where there was not one before, and no one blows their horn when they are clamed in traffic, and no driver in calmed traffic ever creeps through a light, nor blocks the box because they are calmed.

Meanwhile, if you are on a bike - full speed ahead!
Sept. 13, 2012, 6:58 am
ty from pps says:
Or -- hush your dumb pie hole.
Sept. 13, 2012, 12:09 pm
And from Red Hook says:
I approve of this tactic. Let drivers get mad at the real people who cause all of the traffic and congestion in this city: other drivers!
Sept. 13, 2012, 2:17 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Or, that is the real truth about traffic calming. If the goal is really to help with air quality, then how does it help when traffic is made slower, which will cause them to sit in the street idling? Keep in mind that motor vehicles are still needed in a big way. How do the stores stock up for the day? Do they just magically stock themselves, or does a truck come to them? What about when you need a repair man for something that is broken? Are they going to mass transit or come in a van for that? Do cops find it better to go after criminals on foot or in their car? What is the best way to get rushed to the hospital when you are hurt real bad or about to die? What gets firemen to the fires faster? Just like the WNBA, the car culture isn't going away anytime soon no matter how much one may hate it. On a side note, I wouldn't be surprised if traffic calming would be used as a way to help promote congestion pricing by creating the very gridlock itself, which happens to be the Bloomberg way.
Sept. 13, 2012, 3:57 pm
Rufus Leaking from Around says:
"the Bloomberg way."

That's Mayor for Life Mike to you!
Sept. 13, 2012, 4:27 pm
Trans alt from My bike says:
Hey Tal: Two words, cargo bikes. The wave
Of the future.
Sept. 13, 2012, 5:44 pm
ty from pps says:
Tal -- I'm SOOOOOO glad you've decided YET AGAIN to voice your (stupid? ignorant?) opinion without actually taking a moment to understand the issue.... So glad. Thank you for that.
Sept. 13, 2012, 6:03 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Sorry Trans alt (or should I say Paul Steely White), but cargo bikes cannot stock up a store or supermarket in one trip. To do that, they would have to make several trips, and it would probably take longer as well whereas a truck can do it in one. Of course we all know that most shopkeepers will go for what is the most efficient here. I wouldn't mind if cargo bikes are doing deliveries for individuals or for small groups or parties, but that's just about it. I can't picture them doing anything else but that, plus I doubt that a plumber, electrician, or any other repair man will be using it especially with what they are bringing with them. Rufus, Bloomberg has a history of creating the very problems and then addressing them after, and his also done this on public schools and to declare blight in neighborhoods all by making them be bad to start with. Ty, I have read it, and I find traffic calm a bad idea especially in the long run, but your responses to both me and Or have been nothing but personal attacks rather than rebuttals.
Sept. 13, 2012, 6:39 pm
scott from park slope says:
Tal, I think this new brand of meds you're on is working for you--you sounded lucid.

You are right about the car culture not going away. And of course emergency services need to use vehicles, and businesses need to resupply. But nobody has advocated the complete elimination of automobiles on these boards that I have ever read. We're talking about traffic calming in areas where small kids are walking to school or where speeding is rampant and dangerous. You can't reasonably oppose that unless you support running down children. Now, I can well imagine Or, SwampYankee, or Pat sinking to that level of malevolence, but I don't think you do.

Still there remains a lot of gratuitous commuting in the city where drivers could perfectly well ride MTA or light rail, but think they're too good for that. Breaking that conceipt would ease traffic considerably. Also, the freight rail tunnel connecting us to the mainland, the one Nadler's been advocating for years, would take a lot of truck traffic off our streets here.

These are not easy or quick, but they would help.
Sept. 14, 2012, 7:44 am
Real New Yorker from New York, baby says:
As everyone knows, the Dutch and the Danes are emaciated waifs because trucks can't get to the grocery stores. No one can every get a plumber or a carpenter because how on earth can their vans get to people's homes? Amsterdam and Copenhagen are Third World cities! What a disaster!
Sept. 14, 2012, 8:45 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Scott, you really need to start having a prescription for chill pills. I just find traffic calming more of a short term solution, but not a long term solution. When water flows, does it flow faster when the slit is thinner or thicker? Honestly, shrinking or reducing traffic lanes won't make it better, it will actually make things worse especially if it happens to be a major thoroughfare, which happens to get a lot of traffic everyday. Overall, NYC is both a very busy and huge city and some of the things I mentioned in my last comment are needed quite constantly, so making it hard for them can create chaos at times. There is a good reason why utility workers prefer to use trucks or vans over cargo bikes, it's because their things would be too heave to place in bicycles or even carry them around in public transportation. Of course to some, even if all motor vehicles were switched to either electric or hybrids, they would still be hated for being motor vehicles.
Sept. 14, 2012, 4 pm
ty from pps says:
"When water flows, does it flow faster when the slit is thinner or thicker?"

Thanks Tal! I'm glad you CONTINUE to be ignorant of basic traffic science. There's A LOT more than volume alone.

... wait... what am I doing. It doesn't matter what anyone says. You'll never actually attempt to learn anything new. Yes, your ignorant preconceived ideas that you formed in your dense little head when you were 6 years old may actually be wrong. Ever thought of that?!
Sept. 14, 2012, 8:56 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Sorry ty, but I don't see how making traffic go slower on the roads by reducing or narrowing the travel lanes actually makes it better. Then again, I don't know where you are coming from with that thinking. Whatever you happen to be on by saying this, I don't want to know or even have it myself. Even Scott gave a better argument on this than you did just now.
Sept. 16, 2012, 4:05 pm
ty from pps says:
Tal -- You're ignorant of facts and you resist learning or changing your opinions. You are flat out WRONG about soooo many things related to traffic, but you will never ever change you ignorant, misinformed opinion.

So, I give up. If you want to think making roads bigger and bigger will make traffic better, you can have that opinion. Just know it is WRONG. Not all opinions are equal. Some are ignorant and wrong. Like yours.
Sept. 16, 2012, 5:54 pm

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