Friday, August 05, 2016

DOT floats plans to upgrade Atlantic/Flatbush area crossings; residents propose roundabout (and what about Site 5?)

Well, I missed the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) workshop Wednesday on potential safety upgrades to the fraught intersection at and around Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues, but the Brooklyn Paper has published a report, Transportation buff: Replace treacherous Times Plaza with roundabout.

Also the Brooklyn Paper linked to the Power Point presentation (bottom) by DOT, which proposes numerous tweaks (but no roundabout). Also, here's coverage from Streetsblog.

Conspicuously missing, in my view, is any assessment of--and adjustment to--the potential impact of the huge two-tower project contemplated (but not yet approved) for Site 5, currently home to Modell's and P.C. Richard, across Flatbush Avenue from the Barclays Center.

A roundabout?

The lead of Dennis Lynch's Brooklyn Paper report:
The city should fix the notoriously dangerous nexus at Flatbush, Atlantic, and Fourth avenues by turning the intersection into a roundabout, says a local transportation expert. Officials are trying to make some safety tweaks to Times Plaza — the awkward triangular pedestrian island at the heart of the havoc — but this ring-leader says the best answer is to go full circle.
“That’s what roundabouts are for — they resolve strange geometries,” said Jonathan Cohn, a transportation architect at Perkins Eastman, who also lives a few blocks away in Park Slope. “This is a situation that calls for thinking outside the box.”
Cohn, who once wrote the valuable Brooklyn Views blog about the Atlantic Yards project, is no "buff" but rather--as the article acknowledged--an "expert."

The DOT, according to Lynch's report, does not consider that a solution to this very dangerous intersection,  because there's too little room, though Cohn and others disagree.

Also suggested at the meeting was a "Barnes Dance," in which traffic freezes so pedestrians can walk. This was actually discussed by developer Forest City Ratner's transportation consultant, "Gridlock Sam" Schwartz, before the arena opening, but was never implemented.

The DOT's proposal

The DOT announced separate proposals for three different nodes in the area.

As seen on page 31 and 32 of the presentation, the DOT proposes at Third Avenue, Schermerhorn Street, and Flatbush Avenue, to:
1. Build out 3rd Ave slip lane
2. Build out Schermerhorn St slip lane
3. Build out neckdowns
4. Extend sidewalk on Lafayette Ave
5. Build center median island from Lafayette Ave to 4th Ave
6. Enhance bicycle connection between Schermerhorn St and Lafayette Ave
As seen on page 35, the DOT proposes at Hanson Place, State Street, and Flatbush Avenue, to:
1. Build raised crosswalk on Ashland Pl/Hanson Pl
2. Install new traffic signal just north of State St with crosswalk
3. Build out neckdown
As seen on page 38, the DOT proposes at Atlantic, Flatbush, and Fourth Avenues, to:
1. Remove double turn from westbound Atlantic Ave onto Flatbush Ave. Provide Split LPI [Leading Pedestrian Interval] timing to maintain traffic flow
2. Remove double right turn from eastbound Atlantic Ave onto Flatbush Ave
3. Clarify and match number of moving lanes through intersection to eliminate merging
What next?

Going forward, the DOT said:
• Feedback tonight will be synthesized to further develop comprehensive plan
• From comprehensive plan, quick -response and long-term capital projects will be identified
• As construction and funding partners are identified, individual projects will be presented to the community board [Community Board 2] for approval
• As new opportunities develop, DOT will revise the comprehensive plan

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