It was a brisk morning on Sunday when a crowd of outraged Brooklynites rallied on the corner of Avenue J against the new prohibition of right turns at certain key intersections on Ocean Parkway.
The “Save Ocean Parkway” protest was organized by State Assemblymember Dov Hikind and attended by other pols like City Councilmembers Chaim Deutsch and Mark Treyger, Public Advocate Letitia James, Comptroller Scott Stringer, and Community Board 12 Chairman Yidel Perlstein who are all against the changes.
“Eliminating right turns will only endanger the safety of motorists, children and their families who live adjacent to Ocean Parkway, and will undoubtedly create havoc for all,” said Hikind. “Let your voice be heard! No more no turns!”
The New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) is looking to eliminate right turns from the main road of Ocean Parkway onto Avenue C, Avenue J, Avenue P, and Kings Highway.
This will redirect drivers to the service roads to make turns despite their tendency to be completely blocked when someone is double parked, or a truck is stopped. It will also make it harder for emergency vehicles to get through, said protesters on Sunday.
“I have serious concerns about the increase in gridlock that will come with directing so much traffic down the service road, including the lack of access for emergency services, and the dangers that children and seniors would face when crossing the street,” said Deutsch. “I urge the New York State DOT to hear our united voices and reconsider this ill-advised ban.”
The DOT’s Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety project will take two years and cost $15 million, and will have these traffic changes in effect as early as February 2017.
The plan was presented to community boards in 2015 with a slideshow. The slideshow didn’t include the elimination of right turns on Ocean Parkway, according to The Yeshiva World.
“We should not direct traffic onto service roads; we need to stop this madness. I stand with Assemblyman Hikind and I stand with this community which knows what’s best for its residents,” said James. “I urge Governor Cuomo to listen to the concerns of the community and to stop this initiative. Government operates best when it listens to the community.”
This conflict points to a disconnect between State and City governments, according to Treyger.
“If the state cares about Ocean Parkway. then let them do something about all of the potholes along the major thoroughfare. Let them do something about the service paths and the bike paths along Ocean Parkway. That’s my message to the state. This concept of Vision Zero should not mean zero common sense or zero input from the people of this community,” said Treyger.
Below are more photos from Sunday’s rally: