There is now conclusive proof that cars have turned Park Slope’s one-way Eighth Avenue into a mini-speedway, lending credibility to residents’ fears about a proposal to turn Sixth and Seventh avenues into one-way streets.
Armed with a radar gun, activists from Transportation Alternatives stood on Seventh and Eighth avenues and measured how fast cars were going on both streets.
On one-way Eighth, cars were clocked at speeds as high as 40 mph, while on two-way Seventh, cars maxed out at only 20 mph. The speed limit on both streets is 30 mph.
The gun-on-the-street survey refutes the Department of Transportation’s claim that pedestrian and driver safety will improve if Sixth and Seventh avenues are converted to one-way thoroughfares, activists say.
The DOT proposal, unveiled two weeks ago, has brought about a swift and overwhelmingly negative reaction from Park Slope residents.
“People don’t want to see two more avenues turned into mini-highways,” said activist Aaron Naparstek, who led the radar-gun-toting brigade.
Indeed, when the Park Slope Civic Council held a transportation forum last year, the biggest concern was the speeding on Eighth Avenue and Prospect Park West, Naparstek said.
A DOT spokesperson did not care to comment on the activists’ radar gun study. Agency officials were on hand at a community meeting on Thursday, after this paper went to press, where they were expected to hear a legion of boos (for an update, go to www.Brookl
“People are really concerned about this,” said Naparstek. His group, the Park Slope Neighbors, notched 1,100 signatures on a petition against the plan in just two days, he said.
Councilman David Yassky (D-Park Slope), who was briefed by DOT in advance of Thursday’s meeting, has strongly opposed the proposal. “Nothing he’s heard from the DOT has changed his mind,” said Yassky’s spokesman, Evan Thies.
Speeding cars are only one concern for Park Slopers. The other issue pushing residents’ pedals is the belief that this plan is an attempt by the city to solve the coming congestion from the still-unbuilt Atlantic Yards mega-development by sacrificing Park Slope’s residential quality of life.
“People don’t want their streets turned into arena access roads,” said Naparstek, referring to the Nets arena that is part of the project.
“If Atlantic Yards is going to happen, we need a comprehensive, multi-modal transportation plan that includes bikes and trains and buses,” he continued. “Otherwise, the surrounding neighborhoods will shut down.”
Transportation Alternatives spokeswoman Amy Pfeiffer agreed.
“[The proposal] doesn’t make any sense as it is right now,” she said. “If this is an Atlantic Yards solution, other transit options need to be developed much more thoroughly.”