Ditmas Park Blocks Are Some Of The Furthest From Park Land

Map via WNYC
Map via WNYC

After 8-year-old Jadann Williams was struck by an SUV driver and killed on East 22nd Street on August 26, many neighbors spoke out about the lack of park space and playgrounds in the area, saying children play on the dead-end block because there is nowhere else to go.

Data released by WNYC earlier this week backs up the neighbors’ complaints. According to WNYC’s map based on data from New York open spaces and Open Street Map, the block of East 22nd Street where Jadann Williams was hit is more than a half a mile away from the nearest park “as the crow flies.”

Officials from the New York City Parks Department say that they are working change this.

“We have a target that is to increase the number of New Yorkers within a walk to a park to 85 percent. Our timeline is by 2030,” Alyssa Cobb Konon, the Assistant Commissioner for Planning and Parklands for the New York City Parks Department told WNYC.

Map via WNYC
Map via WNYC

WNYC also looked at the open space ratio. In the area surrounding East 22nd Street and Ditmas Avenue — as well as most of the southern half of the neighborhood — the ratio was less than an acre of parkland available per 1,000 residents, much lower than the citywide average of 2.83 acres per 1,000 residents.

We reached out to Council Member Mathieu Eugene about his thoughts on the issue and what might be done to remedy the situation.

“Our children certainly need parks, which provide safe areas for them to play. I am a strong supporter of recreational spaces and I have invested millions of dollars of funding into various parks in our district. For this specific situation, however, community members told me they feel that a speed bump will be more beneficial to the area and may help prevent another senseless tragedy,” said Council Member Eugene in a statement.

Eugene said he has reached out to the Department of Transportation to see if a speed bump is a viable possibility for the neighborhood.

Updated 2:30pm: This article has been updated to include a statement from Council Member Mathieu Eugene.

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  1. I have always felt that Flatbush needs some kind of focal point park around the dutch reformed church / erasmus / kings theatre / erasmus / flatbush town hall.

  2. Flatbush was always known for its lack of parks/play spaces. e22 btwn ditmas and newkirk was a play street during summers in the late 60’s. closest playground was foster and nostrand and of course prospect park which was a long walk. There was a small private on on e18 btwn foster and nerwkirk

  3. This surprises me because I’ve looked into moving the past few years and one of the things that held me back was being farther away from parks and open spaces. I have a feeling this map counted things that really shouldn’t be counted as parks or “open spaces.” Brooklyn desperately needs more parks space – GREEN and PLEASANT spaces, not simply a tiny patch of pavement with play equipment only suitable for age group. I don’t know how we get it, but we need it.

  4. I agree. There are many other areas of Brooklyn that have no parks — real parks, not just school playgrounds — nearby. Think of Ocean Avenue and even the higher letters like J through P — nothing there. And even higher up, because you can’t count Sheepshead Bay as a green place to play. Go off to Bay Parkway, some stretches of Kings Highway along its way east, and New Utrecht towards Bay Ridge — all the same, just rows of buildings and stores.

    Pretty much most city kids grow up without a green space to play in — that’s why half a century ago we played stoopball and hopscotch and did Double Dutch. And when a ball went across the street, we were stricken with loss until someone tossed it back to us. (No doubt today’s kids have their own games.)

    Maybe tear down some of the basketball and handball spaces and make them green, with trees. Little kids can’t commute to those more grown-up play areas.

  5. Uh…sure? But Flatbush isn’t a neighborhood that ends in “Park” but doesn’t have the park the name implies.

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