In the first two months of 2022, three pedestrians have been killed while crossing the street at crosswalks in Flatbush, Midwood, Kensington and Ocean Parkway.

Members of Community Board 14, which represents these neighborhoods, are calling for change and increased safety measures — but don’t all agree on what changes should be made.

Last Wednesday, Community Board 14 held a transportation meeting to discuss potential street design changes to control traffic, increase efficiency and protect bikers, pedestrians and drivers.

The meeting featured a presentation of safety recommendations from Flatbush Streets for People, an all-volunteer group of neighbors, and a presentation from the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council.

Flatbush Streets for People raised the possibility of having a designated bus-only lane on Flatbush Avenue, wider sidewalks, pedestrian safety islands on large crosswalks, more bike lanes and protected areas for trucks to unload cargo, rather than double park.

Liz Denys presenting about Flatbush Streets for People. Photo: Miranda Levingston for the BK Reader.

These changes would allow everyone to get to where they were going safely and more efficiently, presenter Geoffrey Thomas said.

“These are standard things that DOT does in other districts,” Thomas said. “We’re not asking for anything new, we’re asking for some equity in this district.”

Would a bus lane work on Flatbush Ave.?

A contentious part of the meeting was over whether creating a bus-only lane on Flatbush Avenue would help or hurt locals.

While some members expressed concern that a bus lane would wind up causing more traffic on Flatbush Avenue, John Pouliot of Flatbush Streets for People said a more effective bus would mean less people needed to drive, ultimately leading to less traffic.

“When bus lanes around the world and in New York City are implemented well, they encourage people to make fewer trips using private cars,” Pouliot said.

He also added that since non-white residents were more than twice as likely to use public transit to get around, late and slow buses directly and disproportionately impact people of color. Currently, 30-40% of the buses on route B41 are late.

However, Glenn Wolin, a member of the CB 14, said the solutions did not consider people who need to drive. “I’m a driver, and your possible solutions generally don’t seem to take into consideration cars and traffic and car owners.”

“De Blasio came in and he said he was going to knock 250 deaths down to zero and he implemented lots of changes and in the end, we had roughly 250 deaths a year. There’s a floor to this that we’re not going to go below.”

Kathy Park Price, of Flatbush Streets for People, at the virtual meeting. Photo: Miranda Levingston for the BK Reader.

Board member Nina Sabghir said she was saddened by the comments in the chat. “It’s almost as though people would like to see the status quo rather than something that makes things better for all of us,” she said.

Also at the meeting, neighbors raised concerns that they hadn’t adequately been informed and involved in the decision-making process. “You say that you surveyed the community but I’m wondering if you’ve surveyed all the parts of the community,” board member Duane Joseph said.

“We’ve all experienced what DOT has done to CB14 in the past, where they just kind of roll in and do what they want and we are left to deal with it as a board. It’s important to me that the voice of the community is heard.”

Duane Joseph, a community board member, at the virtual meeting. Photo: Miranda Levingston for the BK Reader.

Flatbush Streets for People is supported by street safety advocacy group Transportation Alternatives. The group is advocating for changes to street design because when infrastructure informs and enforces traffic and pedestrian behavior, interactions between the community and the police can be more easily avoided, Pouliot said.

“There will be some negotiation, there’s some give and take in this process,” said Moussa Hassoun, a member of Flatbush Streets for People.

“We can all move toward the same goal of ultimately making the neighborhood safer.”

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Miranda Levingston

Covering everything Brooklyn. Twitter: @MLevNews

Join the Conversation

5

  1. Where is the Broken Windows” poice crackdown on defiant middle and high income drivers blocking the flow of traffic. These blatant scofflaws park in bus stops, bus lanes and block traffic. We need the so called backwards mayor to enforce the existing traffic laws by putting out more enforcement agent, turning on the cameras on city buses and push acampaign to make the middle class obey rules as well as the lower income areas.

    Major bidirectional thoroughfares as Flatbush Avenue, Pitkin Avenue, Avenue J between Coney Island Avenue to East 16 Street, Kings Highway Between CIA and E 16 St.,etc.should have no on street parking for passenger vehicles during business hours. Curb space should be restricted for delivery trucks and through lanes only for commercial traffic and MTA buses. These rules already pertain cars can resume till 6 or 7 AM when deliveries come. Of ccourse the days of restriction should vary acccording to the type of traffic on any day with MTA buses, emergency vehicles and commercial vehicles getting sole use of the roadways.Other egregious insults of running the light then blocking the intersection is a dis to the compliant motorist. Let us accept that a car is a luxury not a necessity for many people. And your permit to drive is a privilege not a right. By breaking the rules the offender is endangering the flow of traffic and deserves legal sanctions.

  2. Correction These rules already pertain to stretches of Church and Nostrand Avenues where there is noticeable enhanced flow of traffic.

    nostrand

  3. flatbush definnitely needs a bus lane, but also up and down church ave as well, always double park cars and other vehicles blocking the lane, flatbush have heavy traffic, where thehell are traffic agents

  4. Jo Ann Brown, Chair of Brooklyn Community Board 14, here.

    Firstly, this reporting mischaracterizes the Transportation Committee’s agenda and meeting. The agenda as it was published did not include a discussion or a presentation from any agency or community group about a Flatbush Avenue bus lane. The topic arose spontaneously and accounted for ~5-7 minutes of discussion during a 1:45 hour meeting. Many of the quotes from board members you pulled for this story had nothing to do with the short discussion of the bus lane.

    The NYC Dept of Transportation has not officially announced or presented such a change in the roadway to this board. It remains the board’s policy to have a robust discussion with community members about matters that have been introduced by the directing agency and not before. Why? Because speculation creates panic and unfavorable outlooks and is inefficient. We facilitate discussions based on facts, not rumors, and never in advance of an agency’s proposal. Let the proposed plan drive the community’s feedback.

    If the goal of this reporting seeks to answer the question “Would a Flatbush Avenue bus lane work?” then this community meeting will not be the source of information for an answer. I suggest your reporters do some substantive research. Has the DOT shown you a proposal? No? Then you have no story yet. You are reporting from the ether and framing this Transportation Committee meeting inappropriately to answer the question. Do better.

    Here’s the link to the 4/6/2022 meeting for those who may be interested: https://youtu.be/AxmiBW1qdUA

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