Myrtle-Wyckoff Plaza Gets Near-Unanimous Approval From Queens CB 5
With 29 votes in favor, none against, and one abstention, Queens Community Board 5 overwhelmingly endorsed DOT’s safety plan for the Myrtle-Wyckoff transit hub last night. The project would significantly reduce potential conflicts between turning drivers and pedestrians, mainly by creating a car-free plaza on Wyckoff Avenue between Gates and Myrtle [PDF].
Pedestrians outnumber motorists at the six-legged Myrtle-Wyckoff intersection, located at the junction of two subway lines and six bus routes, three to one, according to DOT. But it’s not safe — three people have been killed while walking there since 2009.
While the city implemented minor changes in recent years, the new turn restrictions weren’t enough. A turning bus driver struck and killed Edgar Torres in 2014 after the changes were made.
The car-free block will further simplify turning movements and give pedestrians a safer path between the Myrtle-Wyckoff subway station and the Ridgewood Bus Terminal on Palmetto Street.
In 2013, Judy Kottick lost her daughter, Ella Bandes, when a turning bus driver struck and killed her at the intersection. “It was very gratifying that Community Board 5 really considered the redesign and gave us their support,” said Kottick, who attended last night. Not one person spoke against the project during the meeting’s public comment section, she said.
The project straddles Brooklyn and Queens, and Brooklyn CB 4 voted against it last month. Council Member Antonio Reynoso, who represents parts of both community districts, has argued that DOT should move forward with the project regardless of what the boards advised. State Senator Joseph Addabbo also testified in favor of the project last night, as did a representative from Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez’s office.
It’s up to DOT whether to move forward with the project. Streetsblog has asked what the agency plans to do next and has yet to receive a reply.