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DOT Shuts Down DUMBO Parents' Requests for More Stop Signs

By Janet Upadhye | November 13, 2013 10:20am
 Many DUMBO parents are concerned about traffic safety in their small and increasingly congested neighborhood.
Many DUMBO parents are concerned about traffic safety in their small and increasingly congested neighborhood.
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DUMBO — The Department of Transportation shot down locals' requests for stop signs at five intersections in the small and increasingly congested neighborhood, residents said.

While the DOT reviewed and approved stops signs for one DUMBO intersection — at Water and Main streets — they did not approve stop signs at the intersections that worried parents the most: Jay and Water streets, Water and Dock streets, York and Washington streets, York and Front streets and Bridge and Front streets.

"It seems crazy to reject those intersections," said local mom Mallory Kasdan. "I hope it doesn't take something very tragic to happen for changes to be made at those corners."

The DOT applies federal guidelines — including traffic and pedestrian volumes, overall traffic flow, school crossings, the intersection's crash history and other factors — to determine whether an intersection is eligible for a stop sign or traffic light, officials said.

And the intersection of Water and Main streets was the only spot in DUMBO that fit the bill, according to the DOT.

Still, DUMBO Business Improvement District officials — who requested DOT intersection inspections on behalf of residents — said that they will continue to survey the remaining problem spots with the DOT to come up with alternative safety measures.

"There are a number of other interventions that we believe will help improve sight lines and traffic conditions in those places," said Alexandria Sica, executive director of the BID.

Sica said that changes to sidewalks and the addition of and changes to existing crosswalks would help make DUMBO streets safer.

Local parent Marji Molavi is happy with the approval of the Water and Main stop signs but thinks that the DOT needs to proactively plan for a surge in foot and vehicular traffic as new residences and commercial spaces such as The Dock Street Project — a 17-story development that might include a 300-seat school — and the Empire Stores development — a 327,000-square-foot Brooklyn marketplace with restaurants, cafes, retail space, a museum and commercial office space — emerge.

"I imagine that traffic control plans were developed in DUMBO when it was dramatically less residential," she said. "Now the number of young families and the residential population have exploded and that makes lack of traffic control a public safety issue."

Molavi said that along with the addition of traffic control devices the neighborhood also needs better enforcement.

"People just blow through some intersections ignoring the stop signs," she said. "Basically DUMBO traffic feels dangerous for pedestrians and we are still looking for some change."