DOT Unveils Short-Term Ped Fixes Near Brooklyn Traffic Hub

A sidewalk addition will keep traffic from turning onto Hanson Place from Flatbush and Fourth Avenue.

Streets near the Brooklyn Academy of Music and the LIRR’s Atlantic Terminal are set to receive a basket of pedestrian improvements that may get underway as soon as November. Speaking last night to the CB2 transportation committee and about a dozen other residents, DOT’s Chris Hrones laid out plans for new pedestrian spaces and traffic signals — including a Barnes Dance (exclusive walk signal) at the intersection of Flatbush and Fourth Avenue.

The presentation [PDF] met with a generally positive reception — applause, in fact — although some in the audience voiced disappointment that the improvements do not address the intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic Avenue, and others expressed concern about traffic backing up onto local streets as a result of the changes. Hrones said DOT would be able to incorporate feedback into its plans, but that the work is scheduled to proceed in about three weeks. No vote was held.

The pedestrian spaces will be created by closing short segments of roadway to traffic. Cars will no longer be able to turn onto Hanson Place from the intersection of Flatbush and Fourth Avenue, where a new permanent sidewalk will be constructed. Pedestrians will also be able to cross Flatbush and Fourth Avenue more easily, with the implementation of a 31-second exclusive walk phase. Pedestrians currently have an eight-second interval to cross Flatbush before turning vehicles get a green light.

New signal timing will let pedestrians cross Flatbush and Fourth without worrying about turning traffic.

3rd_ave.jpgA short distance up the street, another road segment will be closed to
traffic, keeping cars from turning onto Third Avenue from Flatbush (top right).
Permanent pedestrian plazas are on the drawing board (bottom right), but the
Department of Environmental Protection has scheduled a project at the
same location that will delay construction until 2013 or later. In the
meantime, barriers and striping will set aside space for pedestrians.

Committee members welcomed the new signal timing in particular. One asked for new crosswalk striping to reflect people’s desire to walk straight across the street, and another requested a countdown timer so pedestrians can tell how long the exclusive phase will last. They worried, however, that traffic agents would ignore the signal timing and wave cars through since their mandate from NYPD is to keep traffic moving.

When the subject of the Atlantic and Flatbush intersection came up, Hrones said that location was outside the scope of the project.

"At this point there’s not something that jumps out that will help address the issue," he said. "In the course of this exercise we didn’t find any silver bullets."

Graphics: NYCDOT