City Changes Direction of Bed-Stuy Street Without Notice, Residents Say

By Paul DeBenedetto on October 29, 2013 8:46am 

Slideshow
 Taaffe place went from North-South to South-North overnight without any notice, according to residents.
Traffic Direction Changes on Taaffe Place
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BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — Residents of Taaffe Place in Bed-Stuy got a surprise when they woke up on Saturday morning: traffic on their one-way-street was suddenly facing the oppostie direction.

The four-block expanse, which previously ran south from Flushing Avenue to DeKalb Avenue, now runs north, in an effort to "improve local circulation and reduce congestion on DeKalb," a spokesman from the city Department of Transportation said on Monday.

But neighbors said they were never warned of the change.

"There was no warning, there were no signs, there was nothing to let the neighborhood know," said Nai Morgan, 41, a graphic designer who lives on Taaffe. "For years, people are accustomed to traffic flowing in a particualr direction on that street."

By Saturday afternoon, someone had posted unofficial, handwritten, photocopied signs on a few buildings, warning fellow residents of the new direction, hours after it had already been changed.

The new traffic flow was requested by Brooklyn Community Board 2 and approved by CB 2 and CB3, according to the DOT. Soon after, "community stakeholders" were notified via email, the DOT spokesman said.

Residents of Taaffe Place have long complained about traffic on the street, particularly at the intersection of Willoughby Avenue, where neighbors say a blind spot causes regular accidents.

Morgan said he witnessed two accidents on back-to-back days about two months ago, which led him and other neighbors to submit a petition to Community Board 3 asking for a caution light and the removal of some parking to get rid of the blind spot.

But the new direction creates a similar blind spot in the other direction, Morgan said.

"I don't know how it's really going to effect change," Morgan said. "You're still going to have to inch into the intersection to see traffic."

Immediately after the change over the weekend, cars parked facing each other, while the word "STOP" still sat painted on the wrong corner of the street near DeKalb Avenue, confusing those who passed by.

Worse, said 31-year-old waitress Dee Dee Cohen-Dang, is that since drivers were so used to the old direction, the narrow street had become a makeshift two-way.

"I saw cars coming from both ways," Cohen-Dang said. "It's so dangerous."

The DOT spokesman acknowledged that the change would be jarring at first.

"There is often an adjustment period when new projects are installed and we will continue to monitor the change and work further with the boards to improve traffic conditions in the area," the spokesman said.

But for some drivers the change was more trouble than it was worth.

"What they needed to do was put a stop sign on [Willoughby], or add a light," said Eddie Flynn, 37, who lives and drives on Taaffe.

Flynn added: "It f--cking sucks."

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