The city’s well-meaning traffic geeks have concocted a good plan, implemented it in a slipshod way, and in so doing, have made a neighborhood street more dangerous than before.
In May, the city’s Department of Transportation converted Carlton Avenue, between Park and Myrtle avenues, from a one-way speedway into a two-way speedway, with a 20-foot-wide wide, white-painted median down the middle.
The idea, according to a press release, was to “reduce speeding on Carlton Avenue.” That same 2006 press release promised that the painted median would be replaced by a concrete one, which would prevent cars from driving down the middle of the street, and would allow for an additional two lanes of parallel parking.
For some reason, that part of the plan has never been fully implemented. And now, a full year after the city’s triumphant press release, the block is more dangerous. Pedestrians, rather than having to negotiate drivers racing in one direction, must now navigate cars racing in two.
“We still get the speeders, particularly in the rush hours,” said Robert Poles, who lives midway down the avenue. “We see no slowing down of traffic.”
As a car zipped down the supposedly no-go painted median to avoid a red, double-parked van, Poles pointed out the obvious: “They’re not paying any attention to the street markings.”
That a two-way racetrack should be more perilous than a one-way should come as little surprise to wonks over at the Department of Transportation, which argued earlier this year in Park Slope that a one-way Seventh Avenue would be safer.
Of course, if the city would follow through on its comprehensive traffic-calming measures, which included a cement median down the center, it would make good on its promise to create two one-lane streets. That would surely slow down traffic and make impossible the kind of high-speed maneuvering evident last week on Carlton Avenue.
But the city told The Stoop it had no imminent plans for the completion of the median. And so, alas, another good idea ruined by bureaucratic shortcomings.
“We have hundreds of signatures on a petition,” said Poles. “If it doesn’t work, we plan to take it to the courts.”
The Kitchen Sink
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