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Ninth Street redesign coming in June, officials say

Dangerous: Transit leaders promised to reveal their plan to improve Ninth Street in June, more than three months after Dorothy Bruns drove into five people crossing the road at Fifth Avenue, immediately killing two kids and later the unborn baby of a pregnant mother injured in the crash.
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City transit leaders will unveil their plan to make Ninth Street safer in June, two months later than promised after a driver hit five people — killing two kids and a pregnant mother’s unborn baby — crossing the road at Fifth Avenue in March, according to a Department of Transportation spokeswoman.

But before the city drops its safety scheme at a meeting of Park Slope’s Community Board 6 on June 21, the panel’s transit gurus said they will meet with locals and officials at Park Slope’s MS 51 on May 30 to solicit ideas for improving Ninth Street — an open roadway where drivers frequently speed, especially near the intersection at Fifth Avenue, which this newspaper’s former editor compared to the “plains of Montana.”

“The idea is to give people the opportunity to identify places they consider dangerous,” said Eric McClure, chairman of the board’s Transportation Committee.

Transportation Department reps will begin the May session by briefing attendees on the agency’s various street-safety “tools” — such as parking-protected bike lanes and sidewalk extensions called bump-outs at intersections — before locals gather around neighborhood maps to pinpoint the exact locations on Ninth and other Slope streets where certain fixes should be made, McClure said.

“Most of the workshop will be devoted to people sitting around tables identifying dangerous locations around the neighborho­od,” he said.

And any tips submitted that don’t wind up in the Ninth Street redesign Transportation Department leaders will present weeks later may still inform future street-safety initiatives the agency undertakes in the Slope, according to McClure.

“I don’t think what comes out of the workshop is guaranteed to lead to any changes on Ninth Street, which they’ve been working on since shortly after the March crash,” said McClure. “But I think they’ll give a lot of consideration to what people identify as dangerous areas, not only on that street, but around the neighborho­od.”

Transportation Department chief Polly Trottenberg promised to implement pedestrian-safety improvements on Ninth Street “as soon as the weather permits” three days after motorist Dorothy Bruns ran a red light at Fifth Avenue and plowed into five people crossing the street there on March 5.

Youngsters 1-year-old Joshua Lew and 4-year-old Abigail Blumenstein died immediately following the crash, and Blumenstein’s then seven-months-pregnant mother, award-winning stage actress Ruthie Ann Miles, lost her unborn child on May 11 due to injuries the full-term baby sustained in the collision, after which a grand jury indicted Bruns on reckless-manslaughter charges that could land her behind bars for up to 15 years.

But the March crash is just one of several fatal incidents on Ninth Street, where five people — including Miles’s unborn child — died since 2009, and 33 more sustained injuries since 2010, according to a safe-streets advocate who’s pushed for fixes on the thoroughfare for years.

“When you look at the overall pattern, it suggests something more needs to be done,” Doug Gordon, the author of pro-cycling blog Brooklyn Spoke, said of Ninth Street at a rally following the March crash there.

Share your safety tips for Ninth Street and other Park Slope roads at MS 51 (350 Fifth Ave. between Fourth and Fifth streets in Park Slope) on May 30 at 6:30 pm.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Updated 5:44 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Slopier from Brooklyn says:
Let's hope it's a good design. Should be a wide protected bike lane with big pedestrian islands and loading zones to stop double parking. DOT better not mess this up.
May 21, 9:05 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Honestly, I don't see how redesigning a street will really help in anything. As long as such groups aren't following the rules, it won't matter how a street is designed. All this will be seen as a waste of taxpayer dollars. What will makes the streets better is better timing of the traffic signals and better enforcement of existing traffic laws. The only reason why the anti-car fanatics will never agree to this is mainly because it will make their whole idea to redesigning streets feel both obsolete and unnecessary. On a side note, while I do believe action should be taken on reckless driving, the same should be for rogue cyclists and jaywalkers who are easily placing themselves into harm's way whenever they are flouting the laws yet they pretend to act like victims to the rules while crying foul whenever there are calls to enforce it on them despite wanting every motorist to have every letter of the law enforced on them hence the Animal Farms reference.
May 21, 5:48 pm
Heather from Prospect Heighrs says:
Very disappointed that slate destroyed and had no respect for the Art Deco bank on Washington Avenue and is erecting the usual steel and glass H building architecture in its place
I believe it would not have happened in Manhattan where the original architecture is kept and that’s that
May 22, 9:12 am
bored at work from Carroll Gardens says:
@ Tai

Why let the facts get in the way of your screed.

Street redesigns that preference pedestrians by reducing lane widths, creating bike lanes and safe havens for those crossing, save lives.

Your comments about cyclists are also off base here. A driver of a car went through a red light and crashed into two families, killing two children and an unborn child. Pedestrians and cyclists who disobey the law as a rule, dont kill people.

More enforcement is good, speed cameras and red light cameras save lives, too, but a street redesign is cost-effective and critical here.
May 22, 12:02 pm
Datian from Park Slope says:
Extending curbs, implementing pedestrian islands, and installing bollards are not costly changes. They are routine in a city that is always under construction. They make a difference, too. Consider how the crossing between Prospect Park and the Brooklyn Public Library at GAP used to be before they redesigned it.

The fact is, we need curb extensions, bollards, pedestrian islands, speed humps, and other street redesigns throughout the neighborhood, at every crossing. Uber drivers, cabs, delivery vehicles, and leadfoots treat our straight streets and avenues like invitations to put the pedal to the metal, racing to beat the lights.

I am a driver, too, but our neighborhood is not the Indy 500. Families live here, and our kids cross these streets every day.
May 22, 2:56 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
Who needs speed bumps when there are potholes so deep you can see China at the bottom of them?
May 22, 3:07 pm
Shelby Winterspoon from Park Slope says:
So they claim! But I’ll believe it when I see it! These people are epic , so don’t expect anything soon unless you like being disappointed!!
May 22, 3:25 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I hate to break this to you, bored at work though I think you are probably the same person under a different name, but claiming that cyclists and pedestrians kill less when they flout that law than what motorists do doesn't justify them for flouting them in the first place. Also, when you say that, you almost sound like the anti-Israel crowd whenever they try to downplay or justify the actions done by Hamas just by claiming that the Israel Defense Force kills more. However, when they do flout the laws they are placing others including themselves into harm's way and that's a fact. For the record, I don't support reckless driving, but I have never your kind calling out rouge cyclist and jaywalkers, and I know that Paul Steely White will never call them out either.
May 23, 6:01 pm

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