Smile! Biz booster’s cameras recording people, vehicles at D’town junction

Wired: A worker installed one of three Numina traffic sensors leaders of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership stuck on lampposts at the intersection of Fulton Street and Flatbush Avenue Extension for a six-month pilot program.
Brooklyn Paper
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Big Brother just moved in to this corner Downtown.

Neighborhood business boosters and engineers at a local tech firm on Sept. 20 installed four sensors on light posts at the intersection of Fulton Street and Flatbush Avenue Extension as part of a pilot program to monitor pedestrian, bicycle, and car traffic at the busy juncture.

Leaders of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership worked with brainiacs at Brooklyn-based tech firm Numina to install the company’s yellow monitors on the posts for six months, during which the sensors will record the way traffic flows through the intersection to generate reports for the quasi-governmental agency as part of its so-called Living Lab initiative to use technology to improve quality of life issues in the area — and beyond — according to a bigwig.

“By harnessing the tech community right here in our neighborhood, we can find smart ways to improve everyday life in cities around the world,” said partnership president Regina Myer.

The tech breaks down the number of cars, bikes, and people that move past it into statistics it then sends to the partnership, according to Numina’s website, which says the sensor’s processors are programmed to erase all images they capture to protect the privacy of passersby.

One pattern it will study is the placement of scaffolding around the juncture and its affect on pedestrians’ walking routes, such as forcing them into dangerous traffic, and how that disruption can be mitigated in the future, Numina’s chief executive Tara Pham said.

Downtown Brooklyn Partnership will not share the pilot data with city agencies, according to a spokeswoman, but may use it to suggest possible changes officials can make to the intersection — one of the busiest in the neighborhood, according to the rep — following the program.

Partnership bigwigs also don’t plan on hanging sensors — whose installation was funded by honchos at the Navy Yard’s collaborative tech workspace, New Lab, a partner in the Living Lab effort — anywhere else in the neighborhood, the spokeswoman said.

The traffic sensors went in months after the business booster kicked off its effort to record life on local streets in May by installing microphones along a stretch of Fulton Street for a year-long study of noise pollution on the thoroughfare.

Reach Deputy Editor Anthony Rotunno at or by calling (718) 260-8303.
Updated 8:39 am, September 28, 2018: An earlier version of this story was updated to include more information about the traffic sensors from Downtown Brooklyn Partnership.
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