May/June 1999, p.12

Downtown Brooklyn Traffic Calming Process Underway

New York City began its first ever collaborative traffic planning venture when the Department of Transportation and its London based traffic calming consultant, Ove Arup, kicked off the Downtown Brooklyn Traffic Calming project with a series of small public meetings in March. The meetings are the first of many, and are intended to elicit public opinion about what to do to improve neighborhood quality of life and conditions for pedestrians and bicyclists. The innovative $1.2 million Downtown Brooklyn project study was the result of intensive negotiations between neighborhood groups, T.A. and City officials in late 1997 and early 1998 and came in response to a virtual uprising by residents fed up with heavy traffic in their neighborhoods. This discontent was manifested in a series of early morning street blocking demonstrations in 1997 which drew a broad spectrum of west Brooklyn residents.

By far the highest priority of both T.A. and the neighborhood groups who spurred the city into conducting the planning process is to reduce the number of cars traveling on west Brooklyn streets. However, early signs are that DOT has instructed its consultant to focus more on spot pedestrian improvements and urban design changes than reducing through-traffic. T.A. representatives have been chided by consultants for pressing for reductions in through-traffic and for championing measures like street reversals, rather than identifying specific problem locations. While "traffic calming" measures like speed humps and sidewalk extensions which improve pedestrian safety are certainly welcome, the focus of the project must be reducing overall car trips and through-traffic.

If you live in Brooklyn Heights, Carroll Gardens, Boerum Hill, Fort Green or Red Hook, T.A. strongly urges you to get involved. We have worked hard to give you the chance to be heard.

Contact the T.A. Downtown Brooklyn Team:
Martha Rowen
Andrew McConnell

Alan Mukamal (Chair, Brooklyn Committee)


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