CROWN HEIGHTS — A local community board committee approved two new bike lanes and traffic calming measures in the neighborhood, but rejected specific pedestrian safety changes proposed for one of the area’s most dangerous intersections.
The Department of Transportation's safety proposal for Crown Heights side streets suggests installing two new bike lanes on St. Johns and Sterling places, part of a plan to more clearly mark traffic and parking lanes on two streets where drivers regularly speed, the agency said. The new cycling lanes would run from Grand Army Plaza to Ralph Avenue on St. Johns Place, and from Kingston to Vanderbilt avenues on Sterling Place, the DOT said.
Improving the side streets became a priority for DOT under the mayor’s Vision Zero pedestrian safety initiative after the agency found 680 people have been injured or killed in crashes on both streets within five years.
Last March, 21-year-old pedestrian Dave Jones was hit by a teen driver fleeing police at St. Johns Place and Nostrand Avenue.
On Tuesday night, Brooklyn Community Board 8’s transportation committee voted to approve the bike lane proposal, but voted down a second portion of the plan that would restrict a left hand turn from Utica Avenue onto St. Johns Place, the third most dangerous crossing for pedestrians in Brooklyn, according to five years of crash and injury data, DOT said.
The vote came after input from more than two dozen residents on the proposal, committee vice chair Rob Witherwax said in an email.
Ultimately, he said the committee felt the Utica Avenue turn restriction was “insufficiently protective of pedestrian safety, unduly restrictive to traffic mobility” and “premature” in light of possible street changes made by express bus service on the B46 bus.
Despite their rejection of the turn, the committee recognized the intersection is “very problematic” and encouraged the DOT to come back to the board with other suggestions for improvements for the crossing in the future, Witherwax said.
A DOT spokesperson said the agency will continue to study the intersection and hopes to present "other options to the board in the near future." Residents can expect to see the safety improvements on St. Johns and Sterling places installed within 2016, pending full board support.
CB8 will consider the proposal at next month's full board meeting, scheduled for Thursday, March 10, at Calvary Community Church, 1575 St. Johns Pl., at 7 p.m.