At a tour of the site on Monday, September 10, organizers and elected officials unveiled a pedestrian safety plan they hope will be used by the Department of Transportation as a guide to improve safety in the area.
The focus is on the large parking lot under the expressway. The proposal highlights issues that the partnership says need to be addressed, like massive potholes throughout the parking area and garbage. However, the most critical issue was safety.
At the exit and entrance of the parking area there are no stop signs, street lights or crosswalks. Drivers and pedestrians are given no instructions as to what to do next.
“The public's safety of the people who walk the streets and that drive are in our hands as our first obligation, whether your in city or state government,” said Assemblyman Joseph Lentol, who during the tour used a radar gun to catch speeders in the act.
With a diagnostic treatment center and a school in the area, Councilwoman Letitia James noted the large number of pedestrians crossing the street.
“Students unfortunately have to traverse under this overpass each and every day and take their lives in their own hands,” said James.
Another issue that was touched upon during the tour is that of pipes under the expressway not working properly. According to Michael Backer of the Myrtle Avenue Revitalization Project, these drainage pipes were assembled and installed two years ago.
They are supposed to bring rainwater from the BQE down through a system of pipes eventually draining it into a sewer. However, the pipes are clearly not working because residents have noticed large pockets of water accumulating, pipes leaking, and massive potholes underneath the pipes.
With Community Board 2 supporting the proposal, members of the partnership are hopeful that government agencies will step in and make the improvements.
Backer called on the DOT to “sit down and talk about some of these recommendations,” as well as visit the area. When asked about a time frame, Backer said, “tomorrow.”