Atlantic picked for Vision Zero traffic-calming treatment

MAP: Atlantic Avenue less fatal, more brutal

The Brooklyn Paper
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Atlantic Avenue is less deadly but even more destructive than it was nearly a decade ago.

The city chose the dangerous thoroughfare to be among the first in line for the car-slowing treatment as part of Mayor DeBlasio’s Vision Zero push, which aims to bring traffic deaths to zero by 2024.

“We cannot wait for any more fatalities,” said Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo (D–Fort Greene) at a press conference last week. “Vision Zero needs to happen now.”

City data compiled by our crack number-crunching team shows that there were a horrifying 843 crashes along the stretch of road between the harbor and Flatbush Avenue during the past two years, up from 583 during a 22-month period in 2005 and 2006. The recent slew of collisions average out to more than one per day and caused a total of 173 injuries and one death, down from nine deaths between 2006 and 2008, but tragic nonetheless.

And preventable, road-safety advocates argue.

“This announcement brings long-overdue attention to a corridor plagued by traffic violence and reckless driving,” said Paul Steely White, executive director of the group Transportation Alternatives, in a statement.

The mayor’s Vision Zero push calls for overhauls to 50 corridors and intersections each year, including changes to street designs, stoplights, and speed limits. In response to the Thursday announcement by roads czar and recent Cobble Hill transplant Polly Trottenberg that Atlantic is at the top of her list, activist organizations including Transportation Alternatives called for such measures as a protected bike path and a dedicated-lane bus route along the unruly roadway.

One resident cited the intersection at Flatbush Avenue, where Atlantic widens heading away from the water and where 71 crashes occurred last year, as a prime candidate for a rejiggering.

“The wider street leads to faster traffic and longer pedestrian crosses, which can be frightening, especially for older residents and those with children,” said Gib Veconi, a member of the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council. “There’s tremendous room for improvement there.”

A few blocks beyond the arena, a motorist behind the wheel of a pickup truck struck jumped the curb at Atlantic and Clinton Street and killed Martha Atwater, a 48-year-old Brooklyn Heights resident in 2013. The Brooklyn Heights Association issued an award in her name at its annual meeting in February.

The most collision-prone intersection of all on the chaotic car-track is four miles beyond the bright lights of the Barclays Center at the eight-lane-on-five-lane crossing at Pennsylvania Avenue in Cypress Hills, which logged a whopping 115 crashes in 2013 and 109 in 2012, resulting in 62 injuries.

Reach reporter Matthew Perlman at (718) 260-8310. E-mail him at Follow him on Twitter @matthewjperlman.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Mike from Williamsburg says:
Atlantic Avenue is dangerous east of Flatbush too!
April 1, 2014, 12:36 pm
The Chooch from The Bohemian Magic Show says:
It's okay, it will get better. The Atlantic corridor will become a greenway connecting Up-Brooklyn and downtown. Only bikes, electric vehicles, and pedestrian walkways. This we have deemed. Shazaam.
April 1, 2014, 12:57 pm
Matt from Ft Greene says:
If there's never any meaningful reader feedback other than that pitiful group of diehipster, Ty, Tal, Chooch, et al (which I call abuse, repeated, idiotic mindless, lonely abuse) then maybe this website would be better off getting rid of the Reader Feedback.
April 1, 2014, 2:07 pm
SwampYankee from ruined Brooklyn says:
As someone who occasionally drives Atlantic Avenue East of Flatbush. This road is scary to drive or cross as a pedestrian. I avoid it if I can. Between the trucks and the cabs jockeying for position, the huge number of lanes without an island and the elevated railroad section causing blind spots for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians alike I am surprised that there aren't more accidents then there already are...and there a lot. The further east the worse this gets. I realize this is a necessary truck route but I suspect we can do better. I hope they don't neglect the eastern portions of this just because some sections are not as well off as the gentrified parts of Atlantic
April 1, 2014, 5:44 pm
jjm from c. hill says:
If any of you damn gentries ever pay attention to the traffic instead checking on ur damn iphone every 3 seconds while crossing the street then we wouldnt be in this mess.
April 1, 2014, 5:57 pm
The Chooch from The Bohemian Magic Show says:
Details details. Look, it's going to be one traffic story like this after another for decades to come. One logistical psychodrama after another as Brooklyn steadily gentrifies. As Brooklyn steadily rebuilds herself into a sustainable urban system.
April 1, 2014, 6:42 pm
jay from nyc says:
This is a bad bit of road no doubt, but I am not sure a so-called "direct" approach will work. You have traffic coming and going from the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges and people going to BAM and the Barcalys, among other things, there are just a lot of people there.
To me what has happened is more people have moved to that part of Brooklyn because it is close to Manhattan and has lots of transportation. I think to relive this, public transportation I.E. the trains, need to be expanded throughout Brooklyn so that people will stop trying to crowd into area of Brooklyn just across the water from Manhattan and spread out through the borough more evenly.
I know the anti-development people will hate that, but its getting to the point where either you do that course of action, or you deal forever with traffic nightmares and you try to defend leaving east ny as is, not redeveloping Coney Island, and over-all declining infrastructure.
April 1, 2014, 9:52 pm
ty from pps says:
but i'm always right.
April 2, 2014, 8:14 am
ty from pps says:
but i'm always right.
April 2, 2014, 8:14 am
Scott from Park Slope says:
I attended the town hall on Vision Zero at Brooklyn Borough Hall on Tuesday night, and the entire city government and departments connected to traffic and enforcement was there, and they were duly chastened by the public outpouring from families who had lost members to crashes and many others from Community Boards, nonprofits, senior centers, etc. who demanded an end to traffic deaths. State politicians were totally absent, which will truly come back to bite them, but even Albany cannot deny a united New York City. But Atlantic Avenue was definitely specifically discussed as a problem, as were Flatbush, King's Highway, and several others. It's going to change quickly.
April 3, 2014, 9:35 am
Sid from Boerum Hill says:
Unfortunately Atlantic Avenue and Flatbush are the main trucking route for trucks to deliver food and other things to store in Brooklyn. Certain routes need to remain for trucks. Slowing traffic has already taken place. Certain routes should be closed to Bikes so that drivers have less to distract them. We ban bikes from limited access highways but Atlantic and Flatbush are the same for food and commerce in a city that has so few interstates. The roads won't work unless we all cooperate and that means drivers pedestrians and bikers as well. But in the end its the drivers with their vehicles that are the most dangerous who need to be extra careful.
July 1, 2016, 11:50 am
Sid from Boerum Hill says:
BTW I support the cross harbor tunnel too to get as many trucks off the road as well(they would then pick up goods in Sunny side yards in Queens and not drive to NJ for the same things)
July 1, 2016, 11:52 am

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