Brooklyn Electeds to DOT: Put Safety First at Atlantic and Flatbush

For Valentine’s Day, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and council members Brad Lander and Stephen Levin asked DOT to “complete” Atlantic Avenue. Photo: David Meyer

About a dozen people braved the cold Saturday morning to call for pedestrian safety improvements at Brooklyn’s Times Plaza and along the whole Atlantic Avenue corridor.

Times Plaza is the triangular public space at the convergence of Atlantic, Flatbush, and Fourth avenues. At a public meeting last month, local residents were disappointed that the redesign proposed by Barclays Center developer Forest City Ratner, which is contractually obligated to fund the project, failed to address pedestrian safety concerns.

“It was clear at the meeting from the community turnout that what we really needed at this plaza was a safer place to cross,” Transportation Alternatives Brooklyn Committee Co-Chair Bahij Chancey said on Saturday.

Chancey and TA were joined by Borough President Eric Adams, council members Brad Lander and Stephen Levin, Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon, and representatives from Senator Velmanette Montgomery’s office and the Atlantic Avenue BID.

“How could you plan a plaza here before you make it safe?” Lander asked. “The intersection has to be safe before the plaza is made lovely. Lovely is good, safety is essential, so let’s start there.” DOT has said it plans to present pedestrian improvements for the intersection this spring.

Times Plaza is surrounded by no less than 17 lanes of car traffic. Image: Google Maps

There were nearly 100 crashes at the three intersections around Times Plaza between January and July last year, according to local electeds. Image: Google Maps

DOT expanded the sidewalk on the west side of Times Plaza in 2011 as part of traffic mitigation for the Barclays Center. Redesigning the whole space would require partnership with the MTA, which owns the historic structure in the middle of the plaza.

Lander and five other city and state legislators have sent a letter to MTA Chair Tom Prendergast, DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, and Forest City Ratner CEO MaryAnne Gilmartin asking them to jointly address the safety issues at the intersection and the design of the plaza. You can read the text below.