CROWN HEIGHTS — Two Eastern Parkway pedestrian islands have been removed by the city in preparation of the West Indian Day Parade next week, the Department of Transportation said.
The safety features installed late last year at Brooklyn and Kingston avenues are now gone, surrounded by orange cones on the parkway.
A DOT spokesman said the concrete islands were removed “due to safety concerns involving parade participants and large vehicles” during the annual Eastern Parkway parade. The agency said they’re considering more permanent safety features in the future.
“We are looking at potential replacement treatments in the area and for the long term,” said DOT spokesman Scott Gastel.
So far this year, four pedestrians have been injured in crashes at the two intersections, according to DOT data. Last year, five pedestrians were injured in crashes there, the data show.
The Eastern Parkway and Kingston Avenue crossing was identified by DOT in 2012 as the intersection with the fourth highest number of pedestrians killed or seriously injured. In 2014, Eastern Parkway was made a “slow zone” as part of the mayor’s Vision Zero pedestrian safety initiative.
Residents in Crown Heights pushed for the pedestrian islands for years before they were installed in December, according to an earlier report from the New York Post. Now, concerned locals are upset about the removal of the protective concrete barriers.
“It compromises the safety of the people,” resident Debora Goldstein told the paper.
“The parade is one day out of the year. The main thing is the pedestrians, the kids and the schoolchildren,” she said.
The West Indian Day Parade takes place on the parkway between Schenectady Avenue and Grand Army Plaza every Labor Day, attracting dozens of floats, hundreds of parade participants and tens of thousands of spectators. This year’s parade is slated to begin at 11 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 5.