Tired of having to dodge speeding cars when crossing the street to and from Fort Greene Park, three concerned neighbors are working together to get the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) to implement pedestrian safety improvements at the intersection of Willoughby Avenue and Washington Park.
“We have all had scary close calls, alone and with our children,” Shayna Kulik tells BKLYNER. Kulik, along with Raffaella Pierson and Carla Music, spearheaded the initiative.
“In order to see the cars coming we have to go far out into the street. We have zero visibility of turning cars, and cars often speed up after they pass the speed bump closer to Myrtle on Washington Park,” Kulik explains.
After a call to 311 to complain about the dangerous intersection, Kulik says the group were told to gather community support. The three women set up a table by the intersection at Fort Greene Park on a recent Saturday morning and collected 500 signatures for a petition.
“So many neighbors [were] relieved that this was being addressed,” Kulik recalls.
They’ve also set up an online petition on change.org. Here, other locals share their comments and stories about their experiences at the dangerous intersection.
The Willoughby Avenue and Washington Park intersection does not have a stop sign, a pedestrian sign, or a painted crosswalk. “Drivers of passenger and commercial vehicles regularly speed and fail to yield here,” the online petition notes. “Please help make the neighborhood safer for all residents and visitors by supporting our request for a stop sign.”
“Every day hundreds of children, seniors, dogs, and our neighbors contend with speeding cars, trucks, and low visibility when crossing the street to enter the park, via the wheelchair accessible entrance,” a statement by the three women says. “While we appreciate the addition of ramps at this intersection for wheelchairs and strollers, it is a liability that the ramps do not lead to a clearly marked pedestrian crossing.”
Kulik adds that she and Pierson had a productive meeting with Laurie Cumbo’s office on Tuesday afternoon and were told that “additional street safety measures will be implemented throughout the neighborhood as well.”
At a Community Board 2 Transportation & Safety Committee meeting tomorrow, DOT will present its safety measures for the area.
In addition to installing a stop control and crosswalk at the Willoughby Avenue and Washington Park intersection, Kulik and Pierson were informed that DOT plans to add enhanced crossings at: St Edwards Street & Auburn Place; Willoughby & Waverly Avenues; Willoughby Avenue at the Pratt entrance; Willoughby Avenue at Emerson Place; and DeKalb Avenue between Hall Street & Classon Avenue.
Kulik says she, Pierson, and Music will listen to DOT’s proposal and “communicate our expectations to make this corner safer including—three painted crosswalks, [and] a stop sign.” The women will also address the dangerous blind spot where cars turn onto Willoughby.
Show your support in the safety initiative, or learn more about DOT’s proposal, at tomorrow’s Community Board 2 Transportation & Safety Committee meeting.
Thursday, June 15 at 6pm
Long Island University, Jonas Board Room (Flatbush & DeKalb Avenues)
You can also add your signature to the online petition at change.org.