KENSINGTON/DITMAS PARK- Assemblyman Robert Carroll succeeded in bringing all relevant parties together yesterday to discuss the traffic safety situation surrounding the new school at 510 Coney Island Avenue. The school has been open for three weeks now, and the situation around the building – that is surrounded by truck route, drive-through fast food restaurant, gas station, car wash and car repair shops – but no crosswalks – has not improved.
We posted the full press release his office put out after the meeting below and will let you read for yourselves. Here are some questions we have and would have really liked answered, given everyone was gathered at one place for the first time to discuss the traffic safety surrounding this new school:
- Why was the traffic study not done before the school opened? “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. “
- How long will the implementation take?
- Could they not have counted the cars this time last year? With the addition of new students, one can safely assume more traffic not less.
- Why does it take weeks to implement common sense solutions? “Representatives of the 66th Precinct stated that they would provide additional traffic safety officers at drop-off and dismissal times until traffic safety measures are in place.” Starting when?
- Will safe routes to school include assessment of the curb cuts and sidewalk safety at the surrounding establishments – gas station, KFC, auto body shops?
None of the issues that were raised again at this gathering yesterday were stuff we had not written about months ago.
Way before school started. Unfortunately, it seems, the only feedback provided at the meeting yesterday was – we are working on it. Which is great, but a little too late.
The principals confirmed that yes, middle schoolers will dash across traffic, and navigating car washes and gas stations with small kids and strollers IS a nightmare.
DOT is promising three more weeks before the study is finished – and then an unknown period of time for the measures to be implemented, depending on what the proposed solutions are. That means status quo until Thanksgiving for sure.
We talked earlier today to Assemblyman Carroll, who seems to be the only elected representative who cares about this school, and he agreed that a situation like this should never have happened in the first place:
“I hope in the future when new schools are built anywhere in the city, that the School Construction Authority, Department of Education, Department of Transportation and NYPD are in instant contact with each other and local elected officials about a traffic safety plan surrounding the new school, so that all students can start the new school year with safe routes to and from school. They deserve no less.”
“Assemblymember Robert Carroll (D-44th), Principal Kathryn Anderson of PS 889 and Principal Nicholas Frangella of IS 890 met with officials from the NYC Department of Transportation, NYC Department of Education, School Construction Authority, and officers from the 66th and the 70th Police Precincts yesterday afternoon to discuss important traffic safety measures around the school building. ”
“I scheduled the meeting so that all the representatives could observe dismissal at the co-located schools, which are on one of the busiest stretches of Coney Island Avenue between Beverley Road and Church Avenue,” said Assemblymember Carroll. “The schools currently have less than 200 children registered, but when at full capacity, there will be 800 children and their parents navigating this dangerous stretch of roadway. Now is the time to figure this out.”
At the meeting, DOT’s Brooklyn Borough Commissioner Keith Bray confirmed that it is currently performing a traffic study of the school perimeter and the adjacent blocks that surround the school. 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.
“The majority of my middle school students are crossing Coney Island Avenue unescorted to get to and from school, said Principal Frangella, “Parents are worried and they are demanding a safe clearly marked route. A traffic signal at Hinckley Place seems like an obvious and necessary first step.”
“Right now I have only Kindergarten and First Graders in my school, most of my parents have other young children with them in strollers or holding their hands when they pick up. They then have to cross Coney Island Avenue with their babies,” said Principal Anderson “They have to walk down long blocks along Coney Island Avenue to cross in a crosswalk and then they have to walk in front of active car washes, gas stations and auto body shops. I do it myself and it’s not easy!”
Representatives of the 66th Precinct stated that they would provide additional traffic safety officers at drop off and dismissal times until traffic safety measures are in place.
Assemblymember Carroll and Principals Frangella and Anderson were happy to see a high level of concern from the represented city agencies.
“It was great that we had all the key players together. But all that talk has to translate into action and the immediate installation of street lights, crosswalks, and curb extensions,” said Assemblymember Carroll “Traffic safety around our schools isn’t something that you put on the back burner.”