This is where the rubber meets the road!
A new Prospect Heights pedestrian island made from old truck tires was the toast of Community Board 2’s January transportation committee meeting, with panel members raving about how much they love the safety addition.
Locals had coveted a similar set-up in Crown Heights and are thrilled to finally have one of their own hugging the crosswalk over Fourth Avenue at Atlantic Avenue, showering visiting reps from the Department of Transportation with praise for the addition.
“I saw it on Eastern Parkway and I have friends who live there and they love it,” said committee member Cheryl Gelbs at the Jan. 10 gathering. “Where you put it is the perfect spot because getting over there is like running against the clock.”
The panel voted unanimously to approve the bouncy barrier at the meeting — which is just as well, because the city already installed it in mid-December.
“I think it’s great,” said Fort Greene resident and committee member Hilda Cohen.
Residents have long complained about the treacherous thoroughfares near Times Plaza — a triangular pedestrian island bounded by Atlantic, Fourth, and Flatbush avenues — urging the city to come up with a plan to make it safer.
Between 2010 and 2014, crashes in the area have killed or seriously injured five people, according to city data.
The raised rubber island is supposed to make crossing Fourth Avenue less hair-raising by giving pedestrians a place to stop if the light changes while they’re crossing.
“It makes for a safer and shorter pedestrian crossing,” said transportation department rep Mia Moffett.
The city typically constructs islands out of concrete, but chose the removable rubber option here because the site is above a subway line and workers can’t dig down, she said.
Moffett wowed the crowd with the new amenity’s many perks: the island — made out of recycled truck tires and manufactured in the United Kingdom — took only three and a half hours to install, while a concrete island would take weeks.
Not only that, it can withstand the force of a truck, and was a bargain at just $10,000 — versus the $50,000 a permanent fixture would have set taxpayers back, she said.
If this island stands up well in the snow through the winter, the city may rubber-stamp them for other crosswalks around the city, Moffett said.
The transportation department will reveal a full safety overhaul for Times Plaza in the coming months, according to spokesman Sean Quinn.