The Q at Parkside

(for those for whom the Parkside Q is their hometrain)

News and Nonsense from the Brooklyn neighborhood of Lefferts and environs, or more specifically a neighborhood once known as Melrose Park. Sometimes called Lefferts Gardens. Or Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. Or PLG. Or North Flatbush. Or Caledonia (west of Ocean). Or West Pigtown. Across From Park Slope. Under Crown Heights. Near Drummer's Grove. The Side of the Park With the McDonalds. Jackie Robinson Town. Home of Lefferts Manor. West Wingate. Near Kings County Hospital. Or if you're coming from the airport in taxi, maybe just Flatbush is best.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Another Fix Proposed For Parkside/Ocean Intersection

The Q doesn't need to tell YOU how frustrating and dangerous it is to walk or bike into or out of the Park at the always-busy intersection of Parkside and Ocean. As long as I've lived in the neighborhood, concerned citizens have set their sights on fixing the problem. We've already lived through a couple fairly major changes, the latest involving those "rescue" islands. But after further review, DOT came back to Community Board 9's Transportation Committee (full disclosure - I'm the chair) with another fix that they believe will once and for all make crossing safer.

That is to say, legal crossing should become more safe. The problem with this or any traffic improvement in the neighborhood is the fact that very few cars, bicyclists or pedestrians can be trusted to obey the letter and intent of the law. Changes to traffic and crossing patterns inevitably rely on the behavior of motorists and pedestrians. So no, this fix ain't gonna make people do the right thing, all the time.

From their presentation you'll see the below slides, that Greg Haas of DOT was kind enough to send along. See if you can make sense of it all. The only that concerns me is the "blinking yellow" when taking a left turn from northbound Ocean. What's a blinking yellow light, one might ask. Exactly. Come out to Monday's CB9 meeting if you want to hear more or weigh in.

A couple other slides below that may or may not be self-explanatory. I'm sorta too tired to get into it right now. Suffice to say Lincoln/Flat/Wash need a bit more clarification for motorists and a slight change to the signals. And folks have been asking for signals at Hawthorne and Rutland for some time. DOT says there's a Federal mandate that would prohibit it, as it doesn't meet some qualifications (because it empties onto seldom used one-way streets that begin at Flatbush). Like, whatever.

Finally, regarding the major reconstruction of the Empire Blvd intersections at Washington, Franklin and Empire, please read the thorough story on Streetsblog by Steven Miller:



Parkdog said...

When cars see a blinking yellow, the reaction is to accelerate to make the light. This could prove fatal

Anonymous said...

"...folks have been asking for signals at Hawthorne and Rutland for some time. DOT says there's a Federal mandate that would prohibit it, as it doesn't meet some qualifications (because it empties onto seldom used one-way streets that begin at Flatbush)."

Maple's no different and it has a light. (It's also rampant with jaywalkers and confused drivers who aren't sure where to stop.) I'd love to have a light at Rutland (I jaywalk there all the time); if Maple can have one then...?
However, they also need to fix Maple better (it's weird there) and along with that somehow provide a better (safer) connection for east bound bikes that need to get onto the Maple bike lane.

thebusiness said...

The pedestrian island on Ocean near the Park is a huge step in the right direction. Do you know how dangerous that intersection was? Even when they added a few changes before the island, it was still a death trap IMO. This was also true for pedestrians crossing on Parkside to and from the subway station.

The design of the island was done in a way where it forces drivers to actually turn their friggin cars AROUND the damn island to prevent them from hitting it. Because of that added challenge, it now makes drivers more aware of their surroundings especially when pedestrians are crossing. Not turn diagonally. Too many drivers here do that. What we need now is a light that bans turning vehicles. They have this on Flatbush and Nostrand and some other intersections in the city. I would like to see these changes implemented on Ocean Avenue on Woodruff, Caton, Beverly and so on. We can reduce the number of fatalities and injuries involving pedestrians and vehicles if we all focus these types of changes.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Anon 3:20. I was being lazy. There are actually a whole slew of reasons why the Feds won't approve installing lights at those intersections. I just cited the one I remember. Actually DOT is going to continue to lobby for them. Also, I think the one at Maple has been there a long time, probably pre-dated the current rules.

Anonymous said...

Hawthorne street needs lights, so many peds J walking to associated right in front of where the bus stops, very dangerous.

Alex said...

I don't see any changes noted to Washington/Lincoln/Flatbush - perhaps they're subtle.

These changes are great, but enforcement from the 71st would also go a long way toward making our streets safer. At a recent block association meeting, community affairs told us that the reason why they do not enforce traffic violations (it's a deliberate decision, people!) is because they think it will make the community unhappy if people get summons for breaking the law. I've heard community affairs say some f*cked up things before, but that took the cake. Oh, and apparently, if you're a business that donates refreshments to community events, you can rest assured that customers who double park in front of your business or park on the sidewalk will not be ticketed.

Anonymous said...

They have the blinking yellow left turn signal at Broadway and 23rd Street in the city. It is designed for people turning left from Broadway onto eastbound 23rd Street. People tend to turn cautiously through the crosswalk (in which pedestrians have the right of way with the walk light). From what I've seen of it, it seems to work pretty well.

Curious27 said...

I see "SCHOOL" on the Flatbush/Washington/Lincoln map but I'm not sure what school they are talking about? The one near the subway station on Lincoln? Personally I think something DEFINITELY needs to be done about the huge amount of Jaywalkers coming out of Prospect Park Station at Lincoln Road. People have had to squeeze into those construction barrier lanes since the sidewalk closed what seems like ages ago and many folks choose to brave walking into oncoming traffic instead. I can't count the number of times I've almost seen someone get hit because they choose to cross mid-street. With all the traffic, especially from MTA buses, I'm surprised no one has been hurt yet!

mug of mead said...

Speaking of Washington/Lincoln/Flatbush, who is responsible for snow removal from this crosswalk?

I remember two winters ago (and at times last winter), the snow wasn't removed and it had hardened into an uneven block of ice, which makes crossing that intersection hard. I never called 311 because I had no idea who had jurisdiction.

Andrew Case said...

So great to read in the link that the little stub of Franklin is being eliminated. I walk my kids on that "crosswalk" (outlined only in bricks, not in paint) every morning and no car pays attention to it. I have seen guys zoom through the crosswalk (almost killing me) just to get to a red light 20 feet away. I have confronted them and they have told me to look out for them. A disaster waiting to happen.

Unknown said...

Q, could you elaborate on the federal mandate preventing NYC DOT from installing traffic signals at Hawthorne and Rutland? I requested these at a CB meeting several months ago and they gave me the brief same reasoning why it might not happen, but it was somewhat hand-wavey and felt like an incomplete explanation. What exactly is this mandate that's keeping me from crossing the street safely when I go to buy groceries?

mug of mead said...

re:" I have seen guys zoom through the crosswalk (almost killing me) just to get to a red light 20 feet away. I have confronted them and they have told me to look out for them."

The unmitigated gall of them. They know better; they just don't care. It'd be nice if there were a presence from the 71st Precinct encamped here more often just to bust people like this. I see enough violations in this area on a regular basis to know that they should be able to write a bunch of tickets.

By the way, I assume that the red light that's 20 feet away to which you referred is at Washington Avenue. I wonder whether all of Franklin should be demapped south of Sullivan Place. Southbound traffic is only allowed to make a left turn onto Empire according to the signs, but yet, I constantly see traffic make that right turn onto Empire, and westbound traffic on Empire backs up. Furthermore, these drivers block the crosswalk (and sometimes the entire intersection) and they don't give a damn. Plus, there's a school a block away. Both intersections at Empire and Franklin and Empire and Washington are a mess.

Curious27 said...

And who do I talk to about the delivery men for Wholesome hogging the bike racks in front of the store for their delivery bikes? Complaints! Grievances! Inconveniences!