SUNSET PARK — A proposal to push truck traffic to Prospect Avenue was rejected by Brooklyn Community Board 7 last Tuesday, June 19.
The plan, introduced to the community board by the city's Department of Transportation last month, called for converting the two-way truck route on 20th Street into a one-way, eastbound thoroughfare between Third and Seventh avenues.
"It's a very narrow truck route," District Manager Jeremy Laufer explained. "It's 33-feet wide. Surrounding one-way streets, which aren't truck routes, are 30-feet wide."
Trucks still would have been allowed on 20th Street, but westbound trucks would have been forced to make a right onto Seventh Avenue, then a left onto Prospect Avenue to continue traveling west.
The proposal divided Sunset Park residents on 20th Street and Prospect Avenue. Both groups expressed concerns about the noise, pollution, congestion and pedestrian hazards generated by trucks, which travel 20th Street more than 100 times a day, according to the DOT study.
"Every day, starting between 7 and 8 a.m., it's truck, truck, truck," said Barry Marino, 32, a musician in a rock band who lives on 20th Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues. As a tractor-trailer snarled passed, he paused before continuing. "It's not just the trucks, it's the traffic. The drivers lay on their horns. It's noise pollution, and I'm a drummer."
Marino's neighbor across the street, Thomas Kleczka, 30, said that he and his wife planned to move because of the truck traffic. "The apartment's beautiful, the community's beautiful, but you can't leave your windows open because the truck fumes come in," Kleczka said. "We sleep in the inner room of a railroad apartment."
Residents near Prospect Avenue, however, said they were relieved that the community board voted down the DOT's proposal. "There's already enough traffic with cars. Trucks would congest things even more," said Mary Hendrickson, 37, whose 7-year-old daughter attends P.S. 10 at the corner of Prospect and Seventh avenues.
Tina Barrett, 73, lives on 20th Street but visits the senior center at St. John-St. Matthew Emanuel Lutheran Church on Prospect Avenue. "It's going to go on for another 20 years," she said. "They say they're going to do this, they say they're going to do that. Whatever it is, it has to be a compromise."