Civic group leaders, council members and elected officials gathered in front of the DeKalb Avenue subway station in Downtown Brooklyn Tuesday afternoon to advocate for the BK Gateway Vision, a plan to raise safety awareness and reduce the amount of overall congestion in the area by increasing the stability of the borough's transportation infrastructure.
Councilwoman Letitia James stressed the importance of tackling the issue before it gets out of hand in the coming years.
"Communities and businesses cannot develop or prosper without a well-developed infrastructure," James said. "BK Gateway holistic transportation plan addresses the changing landscape and provides a needed comprehensive vision for central and Northern Brooklyn."
Representatives from the Park Slope Civic Council, Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council, the Boerum Hill Association, Transportation Alternatives and others were there to ensure the plan in the Brooklyn Gateway area was being put together properly.
Ryan Lynch, associate director of the Tri-state Transportation Campaign, began working with James and a variety of other civics groups in the area back in March for direct input from the community on what should be done to address this extraordinary growth.
"We're seeing massive amounts of development and massive amounts of transit ridership over the past three years during one of the biggest recessions in this country's history," Lynch explained. "There's been no plan to deal with that type of development and increase in growth."
In addition to focusing on pedestrian safety, the plan includes a bicycle safety curriculum for NYC schools, safer places to park bikes, and an expansion of the cycling network; something Caroline Samponaro, director of bicycle advocacy with Transportation Alternatives, is happy to see in the city.
"I think that arterials in general sort of get avoided when dealing with tackling traffic issues, and I think this plan really outlines the pieces of what's going to get changed," Samponaro said. "You can't widen the streets because we only have so much space between the buildings."