Local street safety advocates and politicians are not wasting any time in keeping up the pressure on the city Department of Transportation (DOT) to keep safety in mind when designing a revamped public plaza at the highly-trafficked intersection of Flatbush, Atlantic, and Fourth Avenues.
Just two weeks after telling the DOT as much during a public hearing — where officials stated that they were there to present/discuss design, not safety, issues — dozens of people gathered at the intersection to call again for them to combine safety and design.
Having a “more people-friendly public space [is] great news,” said Paul Steely White, executive director of advocacy group Transportation Alternatives. “But what will happen if people can’t safely cross these busy streets to enjoy the plaza? Transportation officials need to put safety first by fixing this highly dangerous intersection as part of the plaza redesign, just as they need to make lifesaving safety improvements all along the Atlantic Avenue corridor.”
Several local councilmembers agreed, with CM Stephen Levin of Brooklyn Heights describing the Times Plaza redesign as “an opportunity to reassess the area and make serious safety improvements” and CM Brad Lander of Park Slope explaining that “we want a great pedestrian plaza here, but we have to start with a safe intersection [that addresses] the whole plaza, not just one piece of it.
“[If] the DOT, the MTA, and Forest City Ratner Companies “want to show the community some real love,” added Lander, “they will work together on a comprehensive plan that allows our families to enjoy a great new public space without fearing for their lives.”
Fort Greene Councilmember Laurie Cumbo and her predecessor/now Public Advocate Letitia James concurred, also adding that the community must not be left out of the process.
“Community involvement is critical throughout the redesign of the Times Plaza Square to ensure that any future plans will resolve existing concerns,” said Cumbo.