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Circle of death? Residents say corner of Prospect Park needs to be safer

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A Lefferts Gardens woman who watched her mother get mowed down by a car is

battling the city to improve a dangerous intersection.

Madeline Fix-Hanson, 38, is renewing a fight to slow down cars speeding around the corner of Parkside and Ocean avenues and make the well-traveled area safer for pedestrians entering Prospect Park at its southeast corner.

Neighbors have complained about the busy five-way intersection for years. Since 2008, there have been 131 car accidents and 13 pedestrians were struck. None of the accidents was fatal, but cops consider the area an “accident prone location.”

At the very least, residents say they want a traffic light for cars turning left, or a head start for pedestrians crossing the street.

“The fact that my mom got hit by a car really lit a fire under me,” said Fix-Hanson, whose 62-year-old mother, Charlene Fix, suffered minor injuries in the collision. As a result, Fix-Hanson started an online petition to appeal to local politicians for help in making the area safer.

Councilman Mathieu Eugene (D–Flatbush) said that he would hold a community forum this month on slowing the traffic. But this isn’t the first time the neighborhood has asked for improvements to the intersection.

In 2008, a group of residents presented a traffic-calming plan to the Department of Transportation that called for adding a raised median with bollards and sidewalk extensions to narrow the streets.

So far, the city has done nothing about it.

“We got a response saying they were looking into it. Then we got a form letter a year later saying basically nothing,” said Carrie McLaren, one of the principal architects of the plan.

An agency spokeswoman did not respond to repeated requests for comment, but Fix-Hanson said she wanted to “keep the problem on people’s radar.”

“It’s exhausting to always be near that level of danger and it seem to be easy to solve,” she added.

Councilman Mathieu Eugene and Department of Transportation officials will hold a safety forum at the Calvary Pentecostal Church [151 Woodruff Ave. at Kenmore Place in Prospect Lefferts Gardens, (718) 287-8762] on May 3 at 7 pm.

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Reader Feedback

Joey from Clinton Hills says:
another hipster moves here from Ohio and tries to change everything unique about Brooklyn, great.
April 21, 2011, 11:41 am
Steve from PPW says:
You're right, Joey. Traffic deaths and injuries are what give Brooklyn its local flavor. We must preserve it at all costs, even if more children are run over.
April 21, 2011, 11:54 am
Barbara Rogers from Prospect Lefferts Gardens says:
Some corrections:
1. There is no roundabout here, unlike all the other corners of Prospect Park - that's part of why this intersection is so dangerous.
2. Woodruff Avenue is in Flatbush, not Prospect Lefferts Gardens.
3. It's Clinton Hill (singular), not Hills, Joey.
April 21, 2011, 11:59 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
It would cost less just to fix the timing of the traffic lights and crosswalk signals. I don't see why that is never an option. Also, it won't involve any innconviences on others, not to mention is a lot cheaper than just changing the entire streets. My guess why it's never an option is because according to Bloomberg and other anti-car fanatics, it will make to much sense and they can't promote their car free ideas if that was ever thought of.
April 21, 2011, 2:09 pm
Ty from pps says:
Tal -- SHUT UP. This isn't your neighborhood. It has nothing to do with "anti-car fanatic" or anything of that sort. SHUT UP. It's not just about timing the lights differently -- you can't do that and still get the traffic to flow.

The community (not Pleasantville, but the *local* community) has proposed a well-designed plan to alter the traffic pattern. This will make traffic more efficient and make pedestrians, motorists and cyclists much more safe. This should be a no-brainer.
April 21, 2011, 2:56 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Ty, that was very insulting about what you said to me. Is this how you talk to others who don't agree with you in real life? If this, then you really do need anger management classes. I don't see any problems with fixing the timing of lights. Compared to this plan, it's probably much cheaper. In the long run, traffic calming ideas actually hurt the streets, not help them. All it really does is create more traffic rather than preventing it. If there are people speeding, then it's their fault, but not all drivers are like them. You wouldn't like it if I said that cyclists and pedestrians were reckless just because of a few, so now you know how I feel about it. Also, the fixed timing will give pedestrians more time to cross the streets without feeling hindered by the crosswalk changing so quickly. Again, it's cheaper and can be done within a day compared to what some anti-car fanatics think. If this involves eliminating parking spaces, then businesses will oppose it as well. One other thing, you really need to take a chill pill, and if you don't like what I comment, then just simply don't read it like an adult rather than make personal attacks like a child.
April 21, 2011, 3:12 pm
Gregory from Parade Place says:
I go through that intersection at least once day by car, and would agree it is unsafe and vague for drivers and pedestrians alike — in all directions. The changes that were made at the Ocean & Flatbush / Empire intersection & Parkside & Machate Circle have been pretty successful at bringing some order to what were dangerous situations. The DOT should not have to start from scratch. The templates are there.
April 21, 2011, 4:26 pm
Oliver from Windsor Terrace says:
Tal,
No offense, but it is clear that you are not familiar with the neighborhood.

This is not just a light timing issue, and businesses should not have much of an issue, as it's mostly a residential area adjacent to a park. If you're going to make opinionated comments, you should at least be familiar with the area, otherwise your comments come off as uninformed. And we won't even get started on the misinformation about traffic calming that you seem intent upon spreading.
April 21, 2011, 4:30 pm
Gregory from Parade Place says:
Regarding Tal's original suggestion of timing changes, I believe that is alway the first thing the traffic engineers experiment with, so it is not an either/or question. However, there are certain structural flaws— such crosswalks that that are too wide (think Atlantic Avenue & Flatbush!) and right turns that are too "sloped," that allow drivers to take them too fast—that can be changed, without inconvenience to anyone. When drivers see a little more order, they usually respond with a little more courteous behavior.
April 21, 2011, 4:42 pm
Mike from Prospect Heights says:
Scariest intersection in the city. If I lived over there my kids would never be allowed to go to the park.
April 22, 2011, 12:04 am
Bayof from Biscay says:
It ain't easy for walkers to enter Prospect Park---not at Grand Army Plaza, Pritchard Square or from Coney Island Avenue. There may as well be unbridged moats at those locations.
April 22, 2011, 12:34 am
Stu from Bklyn says:
Guys, Tal Barzilai is a parody account. It is not a real person, just something meant to get people upset.
April 22, 2011, 8:49 am
Tal's therapist says:
Tal is what happens when poorly adjusted autistic people get unrestricted access to the internet. It's better if you just ignore him.
April 22, 2011, 11:05 am
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
Watch out for Tal. He thinks he knows better than the traffic engineers without even ever seeing the streets in question.
April 22, 2011, 8:58 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Where should I start on this? First off, I am real person, so cut that out Stu. To answer Gregory, the problem with those being allowed for right turns is that the walk signal on the intersecting street is on, so they have to wait for that. Sometimes, it's hard to make that turn because there are so many crossing at once, and I know that from experience of driving through those. Unfortunately, city traffic laws prohibits right turns on a red light even after a complete stop, and this is not just in Manhattan. I don't know why this is the case for NYC either. Nevertheless, I do find that fixing the timing of both traffic lights and crosswalks is a better solution. The reason I have been opposed to traffic calming is because shrinking the travel lanes, doesn't make traffic better, it makes it worse, and that has been found to be true in long term studies, so Oliver, you tend to be misinformed with this short term idea. I already know many local roads througout the boroughs where one cannot floor the accelerator, and I don't exceed the speed limit much myself. Does water flow faster when there is more room or less room for it to flow? On a sid note, whoever is claiming to be my threapist, I know it's probably that same imposter.
April 23, 2011, 11:50 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
Tal.

FYI
1. Rights on red are prohibited in ALL OF NYC.
2. Brooklyn is part to NYC
3. The objective of traffic calming is not to make traffic "better". It is to make the streets safer.

Have you ever tried to cross Parkside or Ocean Avenues? Could you find them on a map?
April 24, 2011, 8:02 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Other Michael, I already know about the first two. I just don't know why it's illegal througout the city on why right turns aren't permitted on red lights when they are everywhere else except where noted. Other than that, I don't find traffic calming a success, I find it more of an epic fail. If all parties just followed the rules, this wouldn't even be an issue. Honestly, it's better to think long term rather than short term. If it was done the way you anti-car fanatics want it, there will just be a cycle of placing and removing this between generations. I say just fix the timing of the traffic signals, and nobody will get cheated out of this. Isn't the idea of green streets also to to make sure that there are no traffic on them rather than creating it? It's such a contradiction, but that's Streetsblog and TA for you.
April 24, 2011, 4:14 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
Rights on red are not permitted in NYC because so many people are walking across the street at almost every intersection.

Since you are unaware of the realities of the intersection of Parkside and Ocean Avenues you should at least read the article you are commenting on. This is not about traffic calming IT IS ABOUT TIMING THE LIGHTS SO NOBODY WILL GET CHEATED OUT OF THEIR LIFE.
April 24, 2011, 7:17 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I have suggested on the fixing of traffic signals for a while. Since I have already stated why it's better than traffic calming, I won't repeat myself. I don't support drivers running red lights, and this doesn't mean cyclists can either. Also, pedestrians need to understand that jaywalking can place them into harm's way. I am not blamming the victim here, I am just saying that when you cross against the signal, you are walking into danger. If you get hit when jaywalking, it sort of is your fault, not the person who hits you, and they can prove that they aren't solely responsible for their actions on that.
April 25, 2011, 3:52 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
Tal

Did you even read the article or are you just going to stay on your anti bike lane rant.

In this case traffic calming means "fixing the traffic signals".

Nobody is jaywalking. At this intersection it is very had to walk across the street when one has the walk signal because so many cars are turning.

Here, I will quote the article for you "At the very least, residents say they want a traffic light for cars turning left, or a head start for pedestrians crossing the street."

Nobody is running lights, not bikers, not cars. Nobody is even jaywalking. People are asking for a dangerous place to be made safer.
April 26, 2011, 7:53 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Other Michael, sometimes there are things that are never understood about the traffic lights and walk signals. When a vehicle needs to turn, there is a walk signal for the intersecting street at the same time. When it's busy, hardly anyone who is making the turn can cross. In some cases, this blocking traffic if there aren't that many lanes, and I am just talking about one way streets here. Since two way streets come to mind, many of them do not have a left turn signal throughout the city making it very difficult for those that need to do them, and this to holds up traffic. Still, fixing the timing of the lights and signals will make it safer without having to take away lanes, though I never understood why rotaries and roundabouts need more than one lane, which I find to be meaningless.
April 26, 2011, 8:59 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
Nobody is talking about taking away any lanes. They are talking about leaving a walk single green while all the cars have a red.

This can be understood.
April 26, 2011, 9:01 pm
mike from GP says:
"This can be understood."

Yes, but not by Tal, apparently. Don't bother with him; he's not worth it.
April 27, 2011, 12:35 am
Mike says:
He's a complete idiot who doesn't listen to reason, ever. It's clear that what he says makes no sense. It's not worth arguing.
April 27, 2011, 12:47 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Mike, where I come from, we don't call people idiots just because they disagree nor make any personal attacks like what you are doing right now. Nobody called you one, so cut it out. I think you need to take anger management classes. Better yet, I should take your head over a sink and wash out all the insults with soap so that you no longer talk like that. Only cowards use such words, and you are proof of one. If you can't say anything nice, then don't say anything at all.
April 27, 2011, 7:11 pm
Mike says:
Tal:

If you can't be part of an intellectually honest, productive conversation, then don't say anything at all.

You have shown over and over and over again that you can't.

Enough already.
April 27, 2011, 7:16 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
OK, Tal.

You are not an idiot. You just say idiotic thing.

It is not that us Mikes disagree with you. It is that you have no understanding of the FACTS as to what you are talking about.
April 28, 2011, 8:04 am
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
I wish there was an edit button.

"things"
April 28, 2011, 8:24 am
pep1 from PLG says:
That's the most dangerous intersection and needs traffic calming and no wisecracks from Pleasantville... he ain't so pleasant.
May 1, 2011, 10:13 pm

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