THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK

June 18, 2013 Ms. Janette Sadik-Khan Commissioner New York City Department of Transportation 55 Water Street New York, NY 10041 Re: Support for DOT Corridor Safety Improvements along 4th Avenue

Dear Commissioner Sadik-Khan: We write to express our support for the Corridor Safety Improvements proposed by the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) for 4th Avenue between Pacific Street and 15th Street in Park Slope, Brooklyn. We appreciate the work that you have done together with community stakeholders to develop new street design solutions that improve safety for all users. We understand that you are considering some adjustments based on community feedback, and we look forward to seeing any modifications you propose in the very near future. We ask DOT to move forward this summer with your plan to make 4th Avenue safer. Fourth Avenue is one of the most dangerous corridors in Brooklyn. Between 2007 and 2011, 53 people were killed or severely injured in crashes on the 1.4-mile stretch from Pacific Street to 15th Street. According to NYPD statistics, within a 16-month period from 2011 to 2013, there were 421 crashes on 4th Avenue north of 15th Street, by far the most in the 78th Precinct (the next most dangerous street was Flatbush Avenue, with 283 crashes). Speeding along the corridor likely intensifies injuries resulting from collisions. At all times of the day, in both directions, well over 50% of vehicles have been recorded driving above the 30 mile per hour limit. These statistics tell a story that is confirmed by our constituents, especially as 4th Avenue is increasingly home to many families and has numerous local businesses, well-used subway stations, and neighborhood schools. We have consistently heard concerns about unsafe pedestrian crossings from families sending children to the schools along this stretch of 4th Avenue. Separate entrances for the north and southbound R train platforms mean that hundreds of subway riders cross the street on foot during peak hours near Pacific, Union, and 9th Streets. In many cases, these pedestrians are offered only two-foot wide medians by the current design. In addition, several narrow intersections with limited visibility due to opposing left turns pose hazards for drivers that have contributed to scores of crashes in recent years.

DOT conducted extensive community outreach to gather input and share ideas for improving safety on 4th Avenue. We were pleased to have taken part in the 4th Avenue Task Force, convened by Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, and the subsequent public planning process organized by DOT with the support of the Park Slope Civic  Council’s  Forth  on  Fourth  Committee  and  the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce. DOT conducted a well-attended public traffic safety workshop for community members on February 13 to gather input, utilized an innovative online input map (nyc.gov/4thAve), held an open house on April 9 to display the proposal, met with principals from 6 schools along the corridor, and made presentations to the CB2 and CB6 transportation committees during May to gather feedback. After having participated in the planning process and having heard from numerous residents and other stakeholders in our districts and along the corridor, we support your proposal. The Corridor Safety Improvements you propose – similar to improvements implemented on 4th Avenue in Sunset Park from 15th Street to 65th Street last year – will narrow traffic from three lanes to two lanes in both directions south of Union Street, and southbound north of Union Street (leaving three northbound lanes from Union Street north toward Flatbush). This will calm traffic, allow for longer turn bays (a major improvement for drivers), and allow the medians to be significantly widened (a major improvement for pedestrians). Because left turn bans have worked further south on 4th Avenue—to reduce safety risks for pedestrians and drivers alike—your proposal will ban selected left turns along the corridor in pedestrian-heavy locations near subways and schools, and where opposing left turns have contributed to a large number of crashes. We are aware that on June 12, 2013, Brooklyn Community Board 6 (CB6) resolved by a vote of 18 to 9, with 5 abstentions, to disapprove DOT’s proposed redesign of 4th Avenue. During our terms in elected office, there have been very few instances in which our position on an issue differs with that of a local Community Board, and doing so is not a decision we take lightly. However, given the severity of the safety risks along 4th Avenue, we respectfully but strongly disagree  with  CB6’s  rejection  of  the proposal. In addition, Brooklyn Community Board 2, which represents blocks at the northern end of 4th Avenue, voted unanimously 27-0 to support the plan. Community Board 7 approved the Sunset Park Section of the plan last year 31-2. We ask you to move forward to implement the project. We understand that there are neighbors who were unaware of the proposal and, prior to this  week’s  CB6  General  Board meeting, expressed strong concerns about the impact of some parts of the proposed redesign. In response to a number of concerns from residents on 5th Street about the proposed southbound left turn ban at 3rd Street, Council Member Lander requested that DOT meet with a group of these neighbors on June 10, 2013 to respond to their concerns. At that meeting, Council Member Lander urged DOT to install a traffic signal at 5th Street – the sole intersection along this stretch of 4th Avenue without one – in order to

make it safer to cross 5th Street at 4th Avenue, without any impact on traffic. We reiterate that request. We appreciate that DOT also committed to investigating other options at 3rd Street, including a new southbound left-turn signal and a reconfiguration of the intersection. We understand that DOT will report back to the community on your findings at a meeting that Community Board 6 has scheduled for July 10, 2013, and we looking forward to hearing your report at that time. We urge you to move forward with the Corridor Safety Improvements this summer. We are confident that the redesign will dramatically improve safety for all users along Brooklyn’s  4th Avenue. Sincerely,

Councilmember Brad Lander cc:

Councilmember Stephen Levin

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz John Dew, Chair, Brooklyn Community Board 2 Daniel Kummer, Chair, Brooklyn Community Board 6

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