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“We respectfully but strongly disagree”

June 18, 2013

Hats off to City Council members Brad Lander and Steve Levin for taking the lead on making Fourth Avenue safer.  The two have penned a letter to DOT Commissioner Sadik-Khan asking her department to ignore Community Board 6’s obtuse objection to the street makeover.

Dana Rubinstein at Capital New York has the story:

Two Brooklyn councilmen have sent a letter to transportation commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan asking her to disregard a Park Slope community board’s vote by moving forward with a plan intended to make Fourth Avenue a safer thoroughfare.

“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,” wrote Brad Lander and Stephen Levin, each of whom represents a district that contains a portion of Fourth Avenue. “However, given the severity of the safety risks along 4th Avenue, we respectfully but strongly disagree with CB6’s rejection of the proposal.”

On June 12, Community Board 6 overruled its transportation committee and voted against the city’s plan to remake Fourth Avenue, the anarchic dividing line between Park Slope and Gowanus. (Community Board 2, to the north, approved the plan.)

Between 2007 and 2011, 52 people were injured and one killed on the section of avenue bounded by Pacific and 15th streets.

Speeding is rampant. Crashes are common.

“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,” wrote the councilmen. “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.”

Board member Gary Reilly, with whom I have the pleasure of serving on the transportation committee, has the quote of the moment:

“This is really a matter of life and death,” Gary Reilly, a member of Community Board 6 who voted in favor of the plan, told me. “It is a major major safety issue on Fourth Avenue. And ultimately, if the community board can’t get it right. … I hope it gets put into play. One way or another, I think this is something that needs to get done.”

This letter alone will not guarantee a safer Fourth Avenue.  Please voice your support and gratitude directly to the council members:

Brad Lander: blander@council.nyc.gov

Steve Levin: slevin@council.nyc.gov

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