Community Board 7 in Brooklyn continues to emerge as a force for safer neighborhood streets.
This week, the CB 7 transportation and public safety committees held a joint meeting to address pedestrian safety issues in the district, which encompasses Sunset Park and Windsor Terrace. The board also sent a letter this month to the 72nd Precinct asking for more traffic enforcement.
“We have some advocates at the top tier level of the community board,” says Ryan Lynch, CB 7 transportation committee chair and vice board chair. Among those working for improvements is new board chair Dan Murphy, whom Lynch calls “a pretty fierce advocate for safer streets.”
In 2013, CB 7 requested nearly two dozen street safety measures from DOT and NYPD. The board has worked with DOT in recent years on improvements to Fourth Avenue and Park Circle, and also engages with community groups, including UPROSE, which Lynch says “has been working on these issues in Sunset Park for years.”
One area the board is focused on is reducing pedestrian deaths on Sunset Park avenues. “We’ve had a number of fatalities along the avenues over the last six months,” says Lynch.
On Tuesday, about 40 people attended the first of two planned street safety forums. “It was really just a kick-off to identifying new areas that need attention in Sunset Park,” Lynch says. In what has to be considered an encouraging sign, Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson’s office sent someone to the forum. “We haven’t had a representative from the district attorney’s office in quite a long time at a community board meeting.”
CB 7 also wants lower speed limits and traffic calming around senior centers and parks, like DOT has done with Slow Zones near schools,.
On February 6 the board dispatched a letter to Captain James Grant, commanding officer of the 72nd Precinct. The letter lauds the precinct for reducing crime overall, and asks Grant to devote “the same focus and dedication” to dangerous driving, particularly speeding and failure to yield. The letter points to recent efforts by the 78th Precinct, where traffic safety has become a priority. The board has yet to receive a reply from Grant.
Lynch says CB 7 will be reaching out to the Taxi and Limousine Commission, and would like to develop a multi-lingual crowdsourced traffic conditions map, modeled on the Make Brooklyn Safer maps for Fort Greene and Park Slope. And there will be other forums in the district, including one in Windsor Terrace in March, to be co-hosted by City Council Members Brad Lander and Carlos Menchaca.
“CB 7 has taken the mantle of being one of the more progressive community boards on pedestrian safety issues,” says Lynch. “This is the first of hopefully many efforts to get more attention to our district.”