Department of Transportation (DOT) officials hosted a workshop on Feb. 12 , and over 100 people from the local community discussed speeding, school safety and other issues along Fourth Avenue between Pacific and 15th streets.
“I’ve seen so many accidents,” said resident Diane Jacobowitz. “I saw a child get hit by a motorcycle on Fourth Avenue and Dean Street. Now with more and more children coming to the neighborhood, I don’t see how they are going to be able to cross the streets,” said
Jacobowitz runs Dancewave and is concerned for the safety of her children students as they make their way to dance classes.
Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz and the Fourth Avenue Task Force sponsored the Fourth Avenue Safety Visioning Workshop. Ideas from the workshop will go into a proposal to improve the avenue for drivers and pedestrians alike.
“We had great participation, everyone seemed so engaged,” said Christopher Hrones, Downtown Brooklyn transportation coordinator for DOT. “From the concerns we heard today, we’ll draw up patterns and data for a proposal within two months.”
Fourth Avenue is a bustling commercial and residential corridor in Park Slope with one of the highest accident rates in the borough, according to city officials. Markowitz launched a task force back in the fall of 2011 to improve safety and traffic along the avenue.
In small groups, residents discussed with officials issues such as local businesses abuse of sidewalks, too many curb cuts, speeding, school safety, the need for greenery and related issues facing the Fourth Avenue community.
“Fourth Avenue is a growing residential community, but it feels like a highway for cars,” said resident Roger Westerman. “The cars are going 45 miles per hour, passing red lights. The level of blatant lawlessness has gotten worse in recent years.”
And the sidewalks are not that much safer either, residents say. Parents were particularly concerned because a new school will be opening in the area next fall.
“When I am walking past the gas stations I have to hold onto my children,” one resident said. “The sidewalks are just dangerous, trucks back up without paying attention to pedestrians.”
Along with the workshop, city officials also launched a website where people can share their issues on the avenue.
“It’s great to see this engaging and inclusive process for people to address their concerns,” said Councilman Brad Lander. “The turnout here shows the desire for residents to make Fourth Avenue safer for the community.”