The Department of Transportation Monday unveiled significant improvements for pedestrian safety along Atlantic Avenue, at the three-way intersection of Atlantic, Washington, and Underhill Avenues. (Three neighborhoods meet there also: Clinton Hill, Prospect Heights and Crown Heights.)
In the four years from 2009 to 20-2013, 99 traffic crashes occurred here, making the spot a prime candidate for changes under Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero initiative.
Despite some controversy regarding the results of the multimillion dollar Vision Zero program, there was a 31 percent decrease in crashes after safety changes were made to the area, known as the Washington Corridor Project, in 2011, according to the DOT. Hopefully results will be as significant following this year’s changes to the Atlantic, Washington, and Underhill Avenues intersection.
In addition to decreasing traffic accidents, locals expect the improved intersection to benefit businesses in the area. Executive Director of Fulton Area Businesses Phillip Kellogg praised the crosswalk changes in a statement in the DOT release: “Making it easier and safer to cross this intersection will not only improve pedestrian safety and save lives, these changes will also benefit the local businesses of Fulton Street one block away as people move more freely between Prospect Heights and Clinton Hill.”
While this latest upgrade marks progress along one of Brooklyn’s notorious avenues, it comes just weeks after the tragic death of local pastry shop owner Muyassar Moustapha on Atlantic Avenue in Cobble Hill. Deputy Director of Transportation Alternatives Caroline Samponaro touched on this in a prepared statement, thanking the DOT for “beginning the essential work to fix Atlantic Avenue.” Indeed, more changes will be necessary before Vision Zero’s namesake vision of zero traffic deaths can be reached.
In its press release, the DOT listed the following improvements to the intersection, in its words:
- Installed shortened crosswalks.
- Built expanded concrete pedestrian space on medians and pedestrian islands.
- Installed leading pedestrian interval signal, allowing pedestrians 15 additional seconds to cross without vehicle conflict.
- Increased pedestrian crossing times.
- Restricted left turn from southbound Washington Avenue to eastbound Atlantic Avenue.
- Installed left turn flashing yellow signal at northbound Washington Avenue.
- Installed new crosswalks across Atlantic Avenue to Lowry Triangle, and along eastern edge of Washington Avenue, reflecting pedestrian desire line.
- Restricted turns from southbound Washington Avenue and westbound Atlantic Avenue to Underhill Avenue, eliminating a confusing vehicle turn.
- Installed new safety bollards to protect pedestrians.
Top photo by Google maps; image below by DOT