What’s your view of Atlantic Avenue?
As a motorist, I can say personally, I try everything to avoid it:
As one of the busiest streets in the borough, Atlantic Avenue is like driving in rush-hour traffic 24 hours, seven days a week. This critical east-west artery through Central Brooklyn runs through dense commercial and residential neighborhoods, but its wide span encourages drivers to regularly drive twice the legal speed limit.
The street is often crowded with large trucks that barrel down the corridor. Driving lanes suddenly turn into lanes for parked cars (most notably between Bedford and Schenectedy), causing frustrated motorist– including large trucks– to dart out of their own lane on a moment’s notice into an adjacent lane, then speed up in an effort to fit in, and boom! An accident.
For pedestrians, Atlantic Avenue’s wide lanes and long crosswalks become a challenge for safely crossing the street. From Flatbush, all the way down to Bedford, it’s a danger zone for schoolchildren and seniors, which is worsened by the mood of the motorist. In fact, between 2008 and 2012, the Atlantic Avenue corridor saw 25 traffic fatalities – including 13 pedestrians, according to the Department of Transportation.
Transportation Alternatives, a group of over 100,000 local bicycling activists who also champion infrastructure improvements to reduce the number of traffic fatalities in the city, has taken on Atlantic Avenue.
“Our concern is, it’s a street a lot of people use; it connects a lot of neighborhoods, and right now, it’s not really safe,” said Luke Ohlson, Brooklyn Organizer for Transportation Alternative. “It divides neighborhoods a lot of time. People don’t want to go shopping at business across Atlantic Avenue; they don’t want to see their friends and neighbors across Atlantic Avenue. So we’re trying to change it so that it’s safer, more vibrant and more responsive to the community.”
The T.A. Brooklyn Activist Committee is calling for a ”Complete Street” down the section of Atlantic Avenue east of Flatbush Ave, with traffic calming measures and pedestrian safety improvements, including Bus Bulb Outs, safer crosswalks, pedestrian plazas and an enhanced shared bicycle route.
They have a petition the community can sign on its website. Also, on Wednesday, March 4, from 6:30pm – 8:30pm, T.A will hold a Bed-Stuy Indoor Block Party at Rustik Tavern, located at 471 Dekalb Avenue (between Franklin and Classon).
“We’re asking for community members to come out and give their recommendations and ideas for safer streets in their own neighborhoods, whether that means the curb over here is bad, the crosswalk over here is not safe … and we want people to talk about what will make for a safer Atlantic Avenue,” said Ohlson.
Ohlson said they plan to take the petition, along with the community’s input, to the Department of Transportation to request a feasibility study of Atlantic Avenue.
“But it’s ultimately up to the community to decide what’s going to work best,” said Ohlson. “I think something we’re all in agreement with is that right now, it’s not working the best it could be. And we could do better.”
, but it lacks the bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure needed to protect Brooklynites from dangerous traffic. This critical East-West corridor runs through dense commercial and residential neighborhoods, but its wide span encourages drivers to regularly drive twice the legal speed limit. to reduce lethal speeding, boost local business and improve quality of life along the entire corridor. On Atlantic Avenue West of Flatbush Avenue, the Committee is working with local partners to request pedestrian, transit and bicycle improvements, including Bus Bulb Outs, safer crosswalks, pedestrian plazas and an enhanced shared bicycle route.
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