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Fix it already! Locals demand action, not a study, from city at deadly intersection

Brooklyn Paper
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They’re dying for a fix.

Brooklynites blasted the city’s transportation agency for waiting to conduct a traffic study before it fixes a perilous Kensington intersection where a trucker fatally struck a man in February, charging that transit leaders should already be well acquainted with the crossing where two people died in the past five years.

“These same issues came up three and a half years ago,” said 25-year resident Mike Rosenbluth, who discussed the treacherous juncture with neighbors and Department of Transportation officials at a Monday meeting inside PS 130. “It’s like the person behind me said, ‘You’ve studied this for 10 years, what more is there to do?’ ”

Community members’ concerns over the intersection at Church Avenue and Ocean Parkway — a massive nine-lane crossing where the parkway meets the Prospect Expressway — flared anew after a motorist behind the wheel of a box truck hit and killed a man crossing the road as the driver turned right from Church Avenue onto the expressway on Feb. 27.

The man — who cops said they have yet to identify in their ongoing investigation of the crash — died roughly five years after a tractor-trailer driver smashed into 73-year-old Ngozi Agbim, killing her as she attempted to cross the intersection in 2013.

Agbim’s death prompted the installation of a pedestrian island to help people navigate the deadly juncture, where no less than 158 others were injured since 2010, according to data from the city’s Vision Zero website.

And more safety improvements are desperately needed, according to locals, who pitched some pedestrian-protection strategies to the Transportation Department’s Brooklyn Borough Commissioner, Keith Bray, at the meeting.

Several attendees suggested the city simply prohibit pedestrians from crossing the intersection on the side nearest the Prospect Expressway, citing their own policies to never cross that side of the juncture because it puts them in the path of cars — especially commercial vehicles, which are prohibited on Ocean Parkway — turning onto the expressway from Church Avenue.

“We have a family policy, we don’t cross on the north side. It’s too dangerous, and we don’t see the need to cross there when you can cross on the south side,” said April Agostino. “My opinion is there should be no crossing there at all.”

But others including Rosenbluth disagreed, arguing that fix would force locals who live on the expressway-side of the intersection to cross it at three other points in order to traverse it entirely.

“Why should they be inconvenienced by having to cross the street three times?” he said.

Officials instead should reconfigure traffic signals around the juncture, so that drivers on Church Avenue get a red light when pedestrians are permitted to cross the intersection’s nine lanes, decreasing the motorists’ chances of hitting a person while turning onto the expressway, according to Rosenbluth.

The city, however, currently has no set plan for improvements — or when they will be implemented — and will begin its process of safeguarding the intersection by looking at quick fixes, such as new on-street markings or signage, that can be made amid the ongoing study to identify more comprehensive changes.

Transportation Department employee Ann Marie Doherty later said that the agency will tell locals by May 1 when they can expect it to release a proposal for fixing the intersection, after Kensington Councilman Brad Lander pushed for a more definitive timeline.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Updated 5:46 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

kevd from flatbush says:
the pedestrian refuges in the middle of ocean parkway and the end of the prospect expressway were a start.
now add them between the service road and the main road, and add bump outs to church on all 4 corners.
oh, and decrease the width of the ocean parkway service roads at the southern side of church ave to slow down vehicles trying to beat backed up traffic between chruch and beverly - possibly with speed bumps.
April 11, 2018, 9:23 am
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
This is exactly why the Cross Brooklyn Expressway should have been built. Now every 18 wheeler in a Brooklyn uses this intersection to access the only damn interstate in the borough.
April 11, 2018, 2:06 pm
TOM from Sunset Park says:
Too much traffic at an intersection. Too many fatalities? Too many injuries. Sounds like a prime location for a new public school. Pre-K is better. Can't bus the kids. They've got to walk.
April 11, 2018, 8:34 pm
kevd from flatbush says:
"They’re dying for a fix."
Is that a pun on the fact multiple people have DIED there?
What the —— is wrong with you, Colin Mixon?
April 12, 2018, 7:28 am
Liam from Kensington says:
Just yesterday I watched a man who had the walk signal decide it wasn't worth it because none of the tractor trailers turning into the expressway would give him the right of way. It's like that every single day - crossing demands you take your life into your own hands vs. super-aggressive drivers who have to watch both you and oncoming traffic while navigating the turn.

My suggesting is route East-bound traffic down Beverly to make the left turn there, making Church Avenue a Westbound-turning or Straight-thru road. The lights at Beverly and Church could be timed to accommodate both pedestrians and turning vehicles easier, and it would give pedestrians time to cross the 7 lanes of the expressway.

Or, better - just give pedestrians a full 45 seconds to cross Church and OP with no turning traffic - thru only. There are always peds needing to cross, and the current 10 second head start is nowhere near enough for the elderly and families, both of which we have in abundance in the neighborhood.
April 12, 2018, 11:59 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Maybe the reason it seems so deadly could be that pedestrians and cyclists tend to flout the laws a lot here, which is what is placing themselves into harm's way yet they will cry foul whenever they have to follow laws despite wanting motorists to follow every letter of them.
April 12, 2018, 5:46 pm
Bob from Kensington says:
Tal, that is not the reason. Stand at the intersection for a while and you will see.
April 13, 2018, 10:42 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Bob, I think the best way to help is to fix the timing of the traffic signals, and that can be done without redesigning the streets, which will make it inconvenient for vehicular traffic especially with commercial vehicles.
April 14, 2018, 5:48 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Look, other Mike, and Other other Mike, I wasn't even on my computer on April 14th because I had laundry to do, so cut out the disingenious impersonations. Bottom line is that motorists pay an extortionate amount of taxes while streetsblogger bikers pay nothing, but expect working Jos like me to sit in traffic (b/c I am a total lardass) and foot the bill. Sounds an awful lot like Hamassment to me. And I would really appreciate it if you would not refer to me as the Grand Cyclops of Ground Zero, b/c that is a hit way below the belt even if I will not rest until the twins are rebuilt in Poughkeepsie.
April 25, 2018, 11:26 pm

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