Friday, January 23, 2015

A perilous crossing at Atlantic and Sixth avenues: construction work narrows passage, no clear path for pedestrians

Work at the corner of Atlantic Avenue and Sixth Avenue has made it perilous to cross the major artery of Atlantic, as noted in a post on Atlantic Yards Watch.

A resident of Atlantic Terrace, the building at the northeast corner of the intersection, filed an incident report, and photos:
The crosswalk on this intersection has been unsafe and continuously shared between cars, trucks, bikers , construction trucks and pedestrians. The authorities, DOB, or the developers did not even bother painting a new crosswalk in a more safe location, indicating where pedestrians should cross to stay safe and away from cars. Several times a day there are no workers helping and indicating the way.
Pictures from a high floor on the Atlantic Terrace residential building on Atlantic Avenue between South Oxford and South Portland Streets show the exact intersection of 6th Avenue and Atlantic Avenue and the sequence of events of cars and pedestrians sharing the crosswalk.
Nicole Jordan, community relations manager for Empire State Development, filed a response that said, in part:
Per the previous construction alert (Two Week Look Ahead) and the one circulated on January 20, 2015 the pedestrian pathways will remain closed while steel trusses work is being conducted on Sixth Avenue. Forest City Ratner Companies will continue to have flagmen present to direct pedestrians away from the work area. 
The flagmen don't fully help

However, according to a follow-up comment by nearby resident Peter Krashes, that's not quite enough, since the flagmen seem focused on the trucks, and there's no clear path to cross:
I happened to be passing through this intersection on foot today and saw the situation the person filing the incident report is describing first hand. 
There were flagmen when I passed through, and NYPD had also posted an officer at the location. The officer focused on the pedestrians while the flagger focused on getting the construction equipment out into traffic. Thanks are due the 78th Precinct once again! 
There is a lot of traffic moving through Atlantic Avenue and 6th Avenues most times of the day. Both have been narrowed, squeezing volume into a few lanes. In the meantime, there are also a lot of pedestrians, even with all the sidewalk and crosswalk closures. The pedestrians don't really have a clearly delineated path how to cross Atlantic. It is unsettling because the traffic traveling down 6th Avenue actually passes directly over the area delineated as a crosswalk, plus construction equipment is entering and exiting onto the crosswalk from both sides.
The dirty tire tracks of construction equipment don't help. 
I think what the filer of the incident report is writing is correct: even with properly trained (and let's hope paid for by the for profit developer, not taxpayer!) help, pedestrians still need clear visual clues how to pass through the intersection. If the construction vehicles can be directed a different way, I would also try that. 

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