Drive on for new traffic control - Many say signal is needed at Windsor Pl. intersection

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The intersection of McDonald Avenue and Windsor Place is an accident waiting to happen, according to neighborhood residents who are pressing the Department of Transportation (DOT) to install a traffic light.

These residents point to a handful of dangerous conditions they say necessitates a light.

For one, motorists coming off the Prospect Expressway at the 10th Avenue exit (Exit 4) often accelerate to make a traffic light at the intersection of 10th Avenue, 20th Street, and McDonald Avenue. If they make this light, they find themselves speeding – downhill – past Terrace Place.

This traffic light also compels motorists to speed uphill on McDonald, residents say.

“Going 45 to 55 [mph] is the norm, but you’ll see people going as fast as 80,” said Dahlia Ward, a McDonald resident. Ward is circulating a petition – which currently contains 50 signatures – she plans to present to the DOT.

Another safety issue Ward cites is a sharp right turn from Terrace onto McDonald.

“It’s not quite a blind turn, but there’s very bad visibility,” she said.

“I never cross Terrace Place at that intersection. If I wanted to cross it, I would walk to the middle of the block [between Terrace and 20th Street] and jaywalk.”

Last week, Assemblyman Jim Brennan wrote to Brooklyn Commissioner Joseph Palmieri to formally request the light.

Brennan said problems arise when motorists going northbound on McDonald turn right onto Terrace en route to the Prospect Expressway.

“Right as you make that turn, there are three new two-family houses with driveways with people backing out of them. The need [for a light] is very obvious,” he said.

The intersection’s proximity to the Prospect Expressway also means it has a high volume of truck traffic, which residents say exacerbates an already dangerous situation.

Brennan originally submitted a request for a traffic light in 2006, but the DOT denied it.

According to DOT spokesman Craig Chin, “We take into account the number of accidents and the number of pedestrians that cross. It didn’t meet any of the Federal Guidelines for traffic signals.”

After it denies a request, the DOT does not accept new requests for the same location until 18 months have passed. Since that time has elapsed since the 2006 study, Chin said the DOT will soon undertake another study, which will take 12 weeks to complete.

Brennan assailed the DOT’s method of assessing the need for a signal, saying the agency “should put safety first, and not wait for accidents.”

He said that since the 2006 study, 76 new housing units bringing an estimated 200-250 people have cropped up in the immediate area.

Students of nearby Bishop Ford High School (500 19th Street), as well as commuters en route to the F train or the bus stop on McDonald and Terrace, add to number of pedestrians crossing this intersection.

“There has always been a speeding problem. Now there are many more pedestrians, so you’re getting a lot more pedestrian-vehicle conflicts,” he said.

Updated 3:43 pm, October 19, 2011
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