After years of demanding the Department of Transportation change Oriental Boulevard’s flashing yellow light to a full traffic light at Ocean Avenue, the community’s two civic groups and Councilman Michael Nelson have convinced the agency to take another look at the intersection.
Councilman Nelson announced yesterday that DOT’s Brooklyn Borough Commissioner Joseph Palmieri agreed to conduct a new survey at the location beginning this week to determine if the number of pedestrians regularly crossing this intersection, and the amount of vehicular traffic there, warrants a change from the flashing yellow light to a traffic light..
“I am pleased that DOT has decided to revisit this issue. For years I have been urging DOT to replace that flashing yellow light, which is often confusing to pedestrians and motorists alike,” said Nelson.
The agreement comes 18 months after the death of 4-year-old Evan Svirsky, who, along with his mother, was struck by a bus on Oriental Boulevard in October 2010. The accident happened on Falmouth Street, one block from the flashing light. Afterwards, Svirsky’s mother, Irina Liberman, demanded better traffic control measures along the drag, including converting the yellow light to a full traffic light which could have slowed the bus that killed her son.
“There’s no indication [of the playground at that location],” Liberman said in 2010. “I speak for all mothers. This is a tragedy and there’s no indication but a yellow light and people are speeding. A blinking light. That’s it. Always speeding.”
Liberman’s demand echoed years of complaints from both the Manhattan Beach Community Group and the Manhattan Beach Neighborhood Association that the yellow light was an exercise in futility. Traffic safety proposals from both groups were sent to the DOT in late 2010 and early 2011, including the demand to reconsider the intersection for a full-fledged traffic light.
The city has repeatedly stated over the years that the volume of traffic at that intersection is too low to meet federal guidelines to warrant the change.