KENSINGTON/DITMAS PARK – It’s getting to be the end of October soon, mornings are getting darker, and getting to school will become an even bigger challenge to students at the new PS889 / IS890 on Coney Island Avenue.
We’ve written about the issues surrounding this school at length since July. The school is adjacent to Coney Island Avenue, which is a local truck route; is surrounded by a gas station, a drive-through restaurant, a car wash, and auto-body shops. There are no crosswalks by the school to help students cross Coney Island Avenue (which all of them have to do as the school is zoned for the other side of the street).
None of this is information that was not available to the DOT planners before the school opened. Yet on September 7, there were no safe routes to get to the school.
On September 26th, in response to pressure from parents and the school, Assemblyman Carroll organized a meeting at the school with all the parties to see how a solution can be found faster. Here’s who was there:
At the meeting, according to the Assemblyman, DOT’s Brooklyn Borough Commissioner Keith Bray confirmed that DOT was doing a traffic study of the school perimeter and the adjacent blocks that surround the school at that time, and that the study “will be completed in the next three weeks, at which time DOT will make recommendations on how to calm traffic and keep the vulnerable student-pedestrians as safe as possible”.
It has now been more than three weeks since that meeting, so we followed up with Assemblyman to see if he had heard back from the DOT. Mr. Carroll was puzzled by the lack of a sense of urgency on this project, and said the only response he had received to a follow up this week was similar to what we received from a DOT spokesperson this afternoon: “The traffic study for this area is nearly complete and we will update elected officials next week.”
“This is absolutely ridiculous”, he said. “I hope that this means that the DOT is measuring twice to cut once and that the specific remedy they come up to deal with the traffic safety issues surrounding this school they will be able to implement quickly. I expect traffic lights and traffic calming around Hinckley Place and Coney Island Avenue to be part of the solution, so parents can finally get their kids to school safely. “
Parents are not thrilled to hear of the delay either. “The press, the parents, the school, the state government, all of us, think this [Hinckley Place @ Coney Island Avenue] is a dangerous intersection that needs to be made safe — immediately,” Kathy Jones who is a parent at the school, said this afternoon. “Everyone thinks so, except DOT that is. If children’s safety is not DOT’s priority, then what in the world is?”