In an effort to put the brakes on speeding cars along Clarendon Road, the city’s Department of Transportation (DOT) is enacting a traffic-calming program on the strip between Nostrand and Utica avenues.
“Clarendon Road is the latest corridor in Brooklyn that we are transforming from a wide-open roadway into a safe and complete street,” said DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan.
“Under our new strategic plan,” she added, “we are already working in Brooklyn neighborhoods like Prospect Heights and Williamsburg right now to calm traffic and to make the streets work better for everyone — not just those behind the wheel.”
The project will involve a variety of new pavement markings. On the wider portion of the strip, there will be a center median marked by stripes, with dedicated left turn lanes. Along the entire stretch, five-foot-wide bike lanes will be added in each direction, between the moving traffic and parking lanes, resulting in one 11-foot moving traffic lane in each direction.
Right now, according to the DOT, the “excessive” width of the street — 50 feet between Flatbush Avenue and East 37th Street, and 60 feet between East 37th Street and Ditmas Avenue — encourages drivers to speed along it.
This is exacerbated by what DOT characterizes as “relatively light volumes” of traffic. According to the agency, there are five cars per minute eastbound and six cars per minute westbound, between Brooklyn Avenue and East 35th Street, where there is one lane of moving traffic, and six cars per minute eastbound and wife cars per minute westbound between Schenectady Avenue and East 48th Street, where there are two lanes of moving traffic.
How quickly do cars go along the stretch? Depending on the portion, and despite the 30 miles per hour speed limit in effect, the average speed ranges from a low of 43 miles per hour, between East 32nd Street and Nostrand Avenue, eastbound, and a high of 55 miles per hour, between East 38th Street and Albany Avenue, eastbound.
Indeed, according to DOT, even between Nostrand and East 32nd Street, a whopping 91 percent of the vehicles traveling eastbound are speeding. Between East 38th and Albany, that percentage is a shocking 100 percent.
The speed of westbound traffic along the strip is slightly less dramatic. It ranges from a low of 42 miles per hour, on the stretches between East 32nd Street and Nostrand Avenue and East 34th to East 38th Street, to a high of 50 miles per hour between Troy and Albany Avenues.
The percentage of cars speeding in that direction ranges from a low of 86 percent, between Nostrand and East 32nd, to a high of 100 percent, between Albany Avenue and East 38th Street.
“It’s one of the fastest streets in Brooklyn,” noted Morris Sacks, the chairperson of Community Board 14’s Traffic and Transportation Committee, during the board’s May meeting, which was held at Edward R. Murrow High School, 1600 Avenue L.
Narrower streets, according to the DOT, result in more slowly moving traffic. A similar project was done on Vanderbilt Avenue, between Atlantic Avenue and Grand Army Plaza. It resulted in a 20 percent decrease in average speeds and a 50 percent reduction in the number of speeders.
On that stretch, according to the DOT, prior to the addition of the traffic calming measures, 76 percent of drivers were traveling in excess of the speed limit. Following the addition of the traffic calming markings, that number plummeted to 27 percent. Similarly, average speeds declined from 35 miles per hour, before traffic calming, to 28 miles per hour, afterward.
The corridor was studied over the course of winter 2007-2008, following expressions of concern from the community during fall, 2007. The new markings will be added within about a month, according to Sacks. Subsequently, DOT will monitor the speeds of vehicles, and work on “refinements to signal timing.”