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Pedestrian Safety Quick-Fixes Unveiled for Windsor Terrace

By Leslie Albrecht | January 13, 2016 2:49pm
 A Department of Transportation image showing existing conditions at the intersection of Windsor Place, Terrace Place and Prospect Park Southwest.
A Department of Transportation image showing existing conditions at the intersection of Windsor Place, Terrace Place and Prospect Park Southwest.
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Department of Transportation

WINDSOR TERRACE — Three months after locals blasted a plan to install 15 speed humps, city officials returned to Windsor Terrace on Tuesday with new ideas on how to tame aggressive driving — this time with fewer bumps in the road.

Instead of speed humps, the Department of Transportation proposed new crosswalks, a pedestrian triangle, curbside parking spots and other fixes.

Residents at the meeting mostly praised the DOT's new pedestrian safety proposals for two sections of Terrace Place, one between 19th and 20th streets and the other between Windsor Place and Prospect Park Southwest.

DOT officials unveiled the proposed changes to Community Board 7 in the same room where debate broke out first in August and then in October over the potential installation of 15 speed humps.

"[Speed humps] are still on the agenda, but these are improvements we can do much sooner," said DOT Borough Planner Zeph Parmenter, adding that the upgrades proposed Tuesday could eliminate the need for speed humps.

At Terrace Place and 19th Street, DOT wants to add three new crosswalks and a pedestrian triangle, as well as 13 curbside parking spots to help slow traffic on nearby 11th Avenue.

At Terrace Place and Windsor Place, the DOT plans to reconfigure the intersection with a concrete island attached to the sidewalk to create safer, shorter crossings, including a direct crossing to the playground on 19th Street and Terrace.

DOT project manager Casey Gornell said the proposed changes would help lessen the intersection's "highway-like feel."

Gornell said there was no specific timeline for when the changes would be made, but residents said they wanted the new features to be installed as soon as possible.

Many residents said they appreciated the proposed changes, but community members also peppered DOT officials with a long list of suggestions for more improvements and questions about longtime trouble spots.

One woman said neighbors had been waiting since 1955 for a traffic light in front of P.S. 154 on 11th Avenue and Sherman Street. One man brought a photo of a car that smashed into a stop sign near his house, and another asked DOT officials why there were no plans for 16th Street and 10th Avenue, where his car was totaled.

One local mom asked DOT to do a neighborhood-wide traffic study to analyze speeding on 10th and 11th avenues. Parmenter said there were no plans for such a study, but DOT is looking at how the closure of Prospect Park's West Drive to cars has affected traffic in Windsor Terrace and expects to release initial results within the next month or so.

In addition to the changes proposed for Terrace Place, DOT also considered adding traffic lights at McDonald Avenue and Terrace Place and McDonald Avenue and Seeley Street, but neither intersection met the federal threshold required for a traffic light, Parmenter said.

DOT is also considering making Seeley Street one way, and will soon add a traffic light at Windsor Place and Eighth Avenue, where speeding is a problem, Parmenter said.

The changes unveiled Tuesday are the latest chapter in DOT's ongoing effort to improve pedestrian safety in the area.

In January 2015, DOT released a safety plan designed to bring "dramatic improvements" to the streets of Kensington and Windsor Terrace. Parts of that plan are still being implemented; residents can follow its progress on City Councilman Brad Lander's website.

Recent improvements have included a new traffic light on 19th Street and 10th Avenue, near the 475-seat pre-K center at the former Bishop Ford Central Catholic High School.

There are also plans to install a traffic light on Caton Avenue and East Eighth Street in Kensington, a block from where 14-year-old Mohammad Uddin was killed in November 2014.

“There’s been a lot of DOT attention in the area over the last year and it’s making it a lot safer,” Lander said at Tuesday’s meeting.