Vanderbilt Avenue: The Model for DOT’s 9th Street Proposal?
As noted elsewhere, tonight the transportation committee of Brooklyn Community Board 6 will consider a plan by DOT to redesign 9th Street from Third Avenue to Prospect Park West in Park Slope, Brooklyn.
Ninth Street is a very wide street for the number of vehicles that actually use it. Overly wide streets may tend to encourage speeding and create dangerous conditions. On 9th Street we often see these dangers where the left-turning vehicles have to cross two lanes of traffic while keeping an eye on pedestrians in the far-off crosswalk.
Vanderbilt Avenue in Prospect Heights had a very similar problem to 9th Street. So, in May 2006 DOT striped a 15-foot wide median with left-turn bays, reducing Vanderbilt to one travel lane in each direction and bringing left-turning cars closer to the crosswalk where the pedestrian conflicts occur.
Many in Prospect Heights will tell you that the Vanderbilt median has helped to calm traffic, make left-turns less dangerous, and foster a safer, more pleasant pedestrian environment. In the future DOT says that it hopes to turn the striped median into a raised, planted median kind of like Park Avenue in Manhattan.
DOT's success on Vanderbilt Avenue is, I believe, the basis for the 9th Street proposal. But no one at DOT is talking very much and these planning processes are done in secret, so who really knows?
Here are some Vanderbilt Avenue before and after photos: