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City plans safety improvements for dangerous Ralph Avenue corridor

Safety first: The Department of Transportation is suggesting refuge islands, mid-block signals, and new traffic patterns along Ralph Avenue in Flatlands to improve public safety.
Brooklyn Daily
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Locals are hopeful these street-safety improvements will “Yield” results.

The city plans to add pedestrian islands, mid-block signals, curb extensions, and more improvements to a deadly stretch of Ralph Avenue in Flatlands where drivers failing to yield to pedestrians and left turns have been the major cause of crashes.

“Not yielding is a particular problem at this corridor,” said an official from the Department of Transportation who presented the plan to Community Board 18 at its April 18 meeting.

The stretch of Ralph Avenue from avenues J to T is a Vision Zero “Priority Corridor,” singled out for special attention by the mayor’s office due to the high number of severe accidents there.

From 2012 to 2016, one person was killed and nine were seriously injured in traffic incidents along that corridor, according to city stats. Overall, 213 pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers have been injured during this time.

The Department of Transporta­tion’s plan includes:

• Building five new pedestrian refuge islands to shorten crossing distances and calm traffic.

• Adding mid-block signals at the Georgetown Shopping Center to allow the building of pedestrian crossings there and improve vehicle access to the area.

• Expanding the refuge at Ralph and Mill avenues to allow more people to congregate there.

• Banning left turns from Ralph Avenue on to Avenue K while heading towards Avenue L to accommodate a pedestrian refuge and reduce accidents.

• Extending the size of the curb at avenues Ralph and M.

• Upgrading several pedestrian curb cuts.

The plan came after locals lobbied for the city to do something about the hazardous stretch of road, according to the agency official.

“We’ve received community requests for this corridor,” she said.

Board members expect that the planned changes will improve safety on the treacherous six blocks, and CB18 district manager said the transportation department assured her that it will take more action if necessary.

“This isn’t a closed door,” said Dottie Turano. “If they see it’s not working, they’re the first ones to respond.”

After the presentation, one man raised concerns over the possibility of bike or bus lanes on this part of Ralph Avenue. Bus and bike lanes have drawn the ire of some in other parts of Southern Brooklyn, but the department assuaged their fears.

“We’re not proposing any bus or bike lanes,” said the official to a lengthy round of applause.

The city hopes to start the work early this summer, according to the department official.

Reach reporter Adam Lucente at alucente@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow him on Twitter @Adam_Lucente.
Updated 1:34 am, July 10, 2018
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Reader feedback

BrooklynBus from Sheepshead Bay says:
So one death in four years now makes a roadway "dangerous". Why not aggregate statistics over ten or twenty years to make it even seem more dangerous? I am not saying that improving safety is not important. But if actions to make the street safer are truly necessary, the city should have no problem in showing there were more deaths and injuries here than there were along the same stretch on Utica Avenue where no measures are being taken. Don't hold your breath.

DOT is just continuing to slow traffic and make it more difficult to get anywhere by banning turns, adding more unsynchrinized signals, and reducing traffic flow and then blaming drivers for the increased congestion. Truly Zero Vision.
April 30, 3:20 pm
Jim B. from Marine Park says:
Well said! You hit the nail on the head. When you come down to it, this out of touch mayor wants NO CARS on our streets. Everyone should take the bus or ride a bike (like they do in China). When this idiot is out of office, I can assure you he won't be taking a bus - and he probably can't even ride a bike (peddle and steer at the same time would be too complicated for him!!).
April 30, 5:30 pm
Ruben Safir from Madisen says:
You can not trust the city when it says that the community is clammering for making it harder and harder to drive in and around the community. The fact is that Ralph Avenue on this corridor is not a pedestrian centric area. It is a car corridor to get into and out of Mil Basin with several large shopping centers that are being damaged by the no left turns on Flatlands Avenue.

And the traffic is being shunted to residential streets, which ARE actually pedestrian centric zones, and into the housing project west of South Shore. This is just a frontal attack on the community by a mayor who thinks driving is a crime.
May 15, 5:33 am
Ruben Safir from Madisen says:
They really screwed the Arch Diner.
May 15, 5:34 am

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