Since Halloween, 12 pedestrians have been killed in traffic accidents, many of them caught on video.
So far this year, Brooklyn has seen a total of 23 pedestrian fatalities — more than any other borough.
On Sunday night, two blocks away from the former Long Island College Hospital, 66-year-old Muyassar Moustapha — owner of Cobble Hill’s Oriental Pastry shop — had just bought a pint of pistachio ice-cream when he crossed Atlantic Avenue and was struck and killed by a car. “That car threw his body maybe 20 feet in the air,” a witness told the Daily News.
Despite the friendly competition between Moustapha’s pastry shop and Sahadi’s, across Atlantic, Charlie Sahadi only had fond memories to share when he heard of the tragic incident. “I don’t agree with some of the things Mayor de Blasio came up with, but if that car was driving at 25 miles per hour, this gentleman would not be dead today,” Sahadi told Gothamist.
This traffic collision is heart-wrenching. June’s fatal crash on Atlantic Avenue is heart-wrenching. With new developments such as LICH and Pier 6 expected to bring nearly 1,400 more apartments to the neighborhood, it’s time to think about the safety of our streets. As Brooklyn’s density increases, pedestrian safety becomes an even larger issue.
The Department of Transportation released its Vision Zero plan to improve pedestrian safety across Brooklyn today. The plan calls for safety improvements at 50 high-traffic corridors and 91 intersections throughout the borough. New safety measures include increasing pedestrian crossing times, installing more speed-limit signs, creating more neighborhood slow zones, and changing traffic signals to reduce speeding during off-peak hours.
The DOT also plans to install 60 new speed bumps annually throughout Brooklyn and add more lighting underneath elevated train tracks. And there will be more speed cameras and enforcement at busy intersections. Apparently Brooklyn averages 46 pedestrian deaths each year — the highest of any borough. Read the summary or the full report over on the DOT’s Vision Zero page.
The Department of Transportation released this interactive map for New Yorkers to report their experiences with city streets. According to the DOT, “Your knowledge will be used to create a traffic safety plan for each borough that will describe how to make each borough’s streets safer for everyone, whether walking, biking or driving.” Map users can point out problems like red light running, double parking, jaywalking, speeding and cyclist behavior on specific streets and intersections.
The map supplements a number of public workshops held by the city in regards to street safety, and Mayor de Blasio’s goal to reduce traffic-related deaths to zero. As the Queens Courier notes, a number of Vision Zero workshops are coming for Queens: Thursday, May 1st, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at I.S. 231, 139-00 Springfield Boulevard; Wednesday, May 21st from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at Bohemian Hall, 29-19 24th Avenue; and Tuesday, May 29th, 6:30 to 8:30 pm at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center, 153-10 Jamaica Avenue.
Street safety advocates will have a chance to make their voices heard at two upcoming Vision Zero workshops in Brooklyn Heights and Flatbush. Anyone can attend and suggest street safety improvements, bike lanes, or slow zones in neighborhoods throughout Brooklyn. NYPD and DOT staff will split attendees into small discussion groups and use maps to help pinpoint the borough’s most problematic streets.
The first meeting is happening from 6:30 to 8:30 pm tonight at Plymouth Church, located at 75 Hicks Street in Brooklyn Heights. And next Tuesday, April 29, there will be a second workshop from 6:30 to 8:30 pm on the second floor of the Brooklyn College Student Center at Campus Road and East 27th Street. There’s more info about the workshops on the Vision Zero page.
Calling all Queens residents who care about street safety and public transportation! There are two very interesting meetings regarding such on the calendar tonight. The first is a Vision Zero Town Hall, scheduled tonight from 6 pm to 8 pm at LaGuardia Community College, 31-10 Thomson Avenue. The public is invited to share their concerns, ideas and feedback on the city’s Vision Zero goal of ending traffic deaths, particularly in Queens. (Thoughts on how to improve the Boulevard of Death? Bring those to the meeting.)
Secondly, the MTA and the DOT are holding a community workshop on how to improve bus service in the borough. NY1 reports that the MTA is particularly looking at improvements for Woodhaven and Cross Bay Boulevards, which serve more than 31,000 riders daily on local routes and nearly 3,000 riders on express lines. The city is seriously considering Select Bus Service for Woodhaven Boulevard from Roosevelt Avenue to the Rockaways, the first SBS route for Queens. If you’re interested in attending, the meeting begins at 6 pm tonight at JHS 210, the Elizabeth Blackwell School, in Jamaica.
This afternoon, Mayor de Blasio visited PS 152 in Woodside along with Police Commissioner Bill Bratton and Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. He took the opportunity to unveil some initiatives to reduce traffic deaths and injuries — he already expressed his “Vision Zero” goal of eliminating traffic fatalities within ten years. Streetsblog listed some initial highlights from the press conference, which include a coming speed ticket blitz, tickets issued from speed cam monitoring, and “concrete plans” laid out by February 15th. Transportation Alternatives also issued a statement on the initiative:
We welcome Mayor de Blasio’s announcement of an interagency partnership to move New York City toward Vision Zero, the goal of eliminating traffic fatalities and serious injuries by 2024. It’s an important step in the right direction, after a discouraging spike in pedestrian fatalities, one that has included the deaths of several children…
Traffic deaths are preventable. We know what causes them, so we can take action to stop them from happening in the first place. We need to redesign more dangerous corridors and intersections. We must dedicate more officers to crash investigations and traffic enforcement, to combat the most deadly violations, speeding and failure to yield. We need the vast expansion of the 20mph speed limit, and we need to expand the use of enforcement cameras that issue tickets, not just warnings. We are heartened by today’s announcement that the city is moving ahead with all of these initiatives.
Photo via Twitter