Flatbush Avenue might get reconfigured
  • Flatbush Avenue between Empire Blvd/Ocean Ave and Nostrand Ave

    photo and more info:

    http://ditmasparkcorner.com/blog/transportation/attend-a-public-feedback-session-on-proposed-flatbush-ave-improvements

    Once drivers lose the ability to double park, businesses which depend on this (bakeries, street vendors, etc) are going to have to adjust.

    I have a big theory that this is related to the massive amounts of money and energy presently being put into renovating the Kings Theater.


  • I heard about this on the Q at Parkside's blog as well.

    This traffic realignment is overdue. Traffic along that stretch is often a mess. The doubleparking by customers and delivery trucks and the dollar vans darting in between lanes contribute to that mess.

    re: "Once drivers lose the ability to double park" - That will only matter if it's enforced! ETA: It's not being enforced sufficiently now!

    I also think that Flatbush Avenue is too narrow to support the amount of traffic that travels on it as a two-way street. 
  • Time will tell whether DeBlasio is able to get the police to spend more effort on traffic enforcement.

    The cops I know think it is "below them"
  • Maybe the NYPD should see it this way: Enforcement might be a way to increase revenue for the city. Everyone else wins (except those receiving the tickets).

    I wonder whether the cops felt the same way when there was that crackdown on farebeating and other seemingly minor "quality of life" crimes during the Giuliani administration. Yet, people loved to claim that it helped to reduce crime (including much more serious crimes).

  • Those crimes are often addressed by transit cops and Impact Zone cops.

    Transit cops see such crimes as part of their jobs.

    Impact Zone cops are newbies, and also see it as part of their jobs because they know that they must do it to someday be part of the class that believes it "doesn't have to such things anymore" ....the class that rides around in a RMP. 

    Guess what's needed to make a traffic stop?     Yup, an RMP.

  • I have a dream where Flatbush will be mostly car-free (like the Fulton Street Mall) and will instead be buses - including SBS B41. It shouldn't take so long to get to Kings Plaza...but it does.
  • It shouldn't take that long to get to and from the Junction either-but it does. The Target by the Junction and the Target at Atlantic Terminal are roughly equidistant from my house. Yet going to the Junction takes much longer, even on a Limited bus. Taking the B44 SBS NB from the Junction to Empire Boulevard is much faster than taking the B41 Limited.

    I suspect the only way a B41 SBS will work is, at least between Nostrand and Empire, if it were rerouted away from Flatbush like the MTA did the NB B44 SBS.

    ETA: I'd like to see the dollar vans rerouted on Bedford between Empire and Foster; that might alleviate some of the traffic woes too. 
  • In my experience, it's worth the extra time....The Target at Atlantic is hell.  The Target at the Junction is a lovely suburban oasis.

    I agree.  I would love SBS heading N/S on Nostrand, heading N/S on Ocean Avenue from Empire all the way down, heading N/S on Ocean Parkway ... and then E/W on King's Highway and Avenue U -- that way all of those N/S bound at two points throughout south Brooklyn.  

    OR TROLLEYS!!
  • xlizellx said:

    I have a dream where Flatbush will be mostly car-free



    Hear, hear.

    I have a dream where most of this city will be car-free.  Cars and guns are, by far, the two greatest menaces to this city (and all US cities).  Only you are much more likely to be killed or severely injured by a stranger wielding a car than one wielding a gun.

  • xlizellx said:


    xlizellx said:


    OR TROLLEYS!!


    When I was a kid, I remember the city digging up the last of the trolley tracks in my neighborhood on Franklin Avenue near this site. Why and how would the city bring trolleys back? ;)


    xlizellx said:

     Cars and guns are, by far, the two greatest menaces to this city (and all US cities).  Only you are much more likely to be killed or severely injured by a stranger wielding a car than one wielding a gun.



    Yes. Hopefully de Blasio will be able to follow through on his intentions to reduce the number of pedestrians killed by motor vehicles.
  • I doubt he is moving toward a car free city, but he is making progress on lowering the speed limits on major roads.

    Flatbush is now a slow zone:
    http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/37/32/dtg-flatbush-ave-slow-zone-2014-08-08-bk_37_32.html

    I do hope that sustained enforcement of these rules happen by the NYPD and that these efforts actually reduce accidents.

    It would be sad if the city had to move slower, with few outcomes besides paying lots of money in fines.

  • whynot_31 said:I doubt he is moving toward a car free city, but he is making progress on lowering the speed limits on major roads.

    Flatbush is now a slow zone:
    http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/37/32/dtg-flatbush-ave-slow-zone-2014-08-08-bk_37_32.html

    I do hope that sustained enforcement of these rules happen by the NYPD and that these efforts actually reduce accidents.

    It would be sad if the city had to move slower, with few outcomes besides paying lots of money in fines.



    The key term here is 
    "sustained enforcement"
  • Now that we live in a safer (ie less violent) city, the NYPD is going to have to figure out how to measure and reward officers who make regular traffic stops and issue moving violations.

    ...in the past, officers were largely rewarded for arrests: quality of life, violence, drug use, etc.

    Traffic violations will need to become thought of as a "quality of life crime".

  • I drove Flatbush Ave. this morning from the Belt down to Foster Ave and I don't think I got anywhere near 25 mph with all the cars, pedestrians who fail to cross where they should or with the light and buses. Lowering the speed limit wasn't even necessary. In addition, driving down Rogers Ave I encountered one idiot crossing against the light who nearly walked into the side of my car and another who was skateboarding south in the middle of the street. So, if there is going to be a safer city we need to take action against ALL those who break traffic laws, not just motor vehicles.
  • whynot_31 said:


    Lowering the speed limit wasn't even necessary. 



    It may not have been when you drove it, but at many other times traffic down Flatbush goes well over 25 mph.  I've ridden it many times where I am going about 20 mph with cars ripping past at what is easily 40 mph.  

    Someone here recently said this same thing about it being hard to get over 25mph on E. Parkway.  I had to laugh at being reminded of that watching several cars fly past at 45-50 mph a couple days ago.  Obviously the bikers regularly hit that in stretches down E. Parkway.  And last week I saw some kids racing, weaving in and out of cars at 55-60.

    So, if there is going to be a safer city we need to take action against ALL those who break traffic laws, not just motor vehicles. 

    Sure, but let's make the punitive actions proportionate to the threat directed at other people. Running a red light in a car, passing too closely to cyclists (an offense punished almost never), breaking the speed limit, etc., are all violations that increase the odds of killing people other than the offender. Most things cyclists and pedestrians are ticketed for don't even come close to that.
  • Or, as Mike Dunlap would seem to prefer, ban all motorized vehicles from NYC.

    I'll go him one better... Ban all wheeled vehicles, including bikes, skateboards, strollers, etc.

    We'll make a special exception for walkers and non-motorized wheelchairs.
  • I propose we look at the violations by bikers and pedestrians as "quality of life" crimes; then there is no need to worry about the potential harm caused.

    The NYPD can merely be rewarding for ticketing them for breaking the law, and the irritation the violaters cause others.

    By reducing such irritations and forcing people to be polite, the number of deaths and injuries will hopefully be reduced as well.
  • booklaw said:

    Or, as Mike Dunlap would seem to prefer, ban all motorized vehicles from NYC. 



    I wouldn't do that.  I would just make requirements for operating them similar to what we require for operation of other large pieces of highly dangerous, often deadly machinery.

    For what it's worth, manually operated cars will eventually be banned in urban areas anyway.  People a few generations from now (if not sooner) will look back in amazement at the era of virtually unregulated manual operation of such deadly machines.  Like we look back at guillotines, duels, and so on.
  • I drove Flatbush Ave. this morning from the Belt down to Foster Ave and I don't think I got anywhere near 25 mph with all the cars, pedestrians who fail to cross where they should or with the light and buses. Lowering the speed limit wasn't even necessary. 



    Then you have incidents like thisimage
  • whynot_31 said:

    I propose we look at the violations by bikers and pedestrians as "quality of life" crimes



    Call them whatever you want.  But let me know when cyclists and pedestrians start killing and maiming the same number of people in this city that car drivers do.  I'll be completely with you on treating violations by each of these groups the same.
  • Then you have incidents like this



    Nicely done.  

    The arguments of anyone who says drivers rarely get above 25 mph on Flatbush or E. Parkway really shouldn't be taken seriously as they concern this debate.

  • Exactly @mike dunlap. When it's a vehicle vs. a pedestrian, there's no contest.

    @pragmaticguy is apparently a law-abiding driver, and that's very good. However, what he witnessed this morning doesn't discount what many of us have witnessed throughout the borough. I know I have seen vehicles (and not just dollar vans!) speeding on Flatbush between Grand Army Plaza and Lefferts Avenue for example. I also have seen vehicles speeding to make light at Flatbush and Empire Blvd/Ocean Avenue.
  • Mike,
    You are unlikely to get the police to reduce ticketing to pedestrians and bikers to because they pose little damage to others.

    However, when one thinks about it, the NYPD is increasingly ticketing peds and bikers on the basis they pose to themselves.

    ...it seems more humane than just letting them die for their disregard of the law.

    While we strive for utopia, we have to live in the world we have.

    Even if the police wish they could ignore the risk that law breaking peds and bikers pose to themselves, they can't do so because of the irritation they pose to others.
  • @mugofmead -
    The penalties for breaking the law are different as well.

    For example, while a ped or a biker gets a ticket for their violation, the penalty ends there.

    Meanwhile, a driver gets a fine, points off their lic, and (if they keep doing it...) eventually lose their lic and/or have to pay higher insurance rates.

    However, under prior administrations enforcement of these laws was lax.

    DeBlasio is bringing in a new day.

    If increased enforcement isn't enough to change the behavior of drivers/peds/bikers, we should look at increasing the applicable penalties.

  • There's always going to be accidents and times when people speed but in the photo shown above does anyone here really think that lowering the speed limit to 25 would have mattered. I guess there's many on here who don't own cars and would never be seen in one but I've been driving for longer than most of the people who post on here are alive and have seen very few accidents of the type above. Are there going to be some? Sure. Are there going to be plane crashes? Sure. But the odds of it happening where people are killed are slight. Years ago when I lived in N.J. the cops would stake out about a block from the bars on the weekend and then would pull over just about everyone driving out to check for DWI. The bar owners lost tons of business and eventually it was stopped because there was no probable cause to pull people over. Drunk driving, as we all know, kills and maims more than any other cause, so let's ban people from somehow driving to and from bars. Even the LIRR got rid of the bar cars because commuters would get loaded and then drive home.
  • @pragmaticguy - It's interesting you mentioned the likelihood of plane crashes happening, as one is more likely to be killed in a car crash than in a plane crash

    @why_not31 and I already alluded that "sustained enforcement" would be key component in creating and maintaining the slow zones. Just lowering the speed limit isn't going to do squat if those who commit speeding infractions don't get busted.
  • @pragmaticguy -

    I suspect that the LIRR banned bar cars not because passengers were driving home from their destination station drunk, but because LIRR needed the space the bar car was using for more passenger rail cars.

    One can still buy beer at Penn Station or Atlantic Terminal, and legally drink it on the train.

    ....those poor people on living on LI need something to make their lives bearable, the LIRR has not taken their beer.

  • I'm pretty sure the bar cars were removed because of the appearance of people getting drunk. You might buy one beer at Penn but I knew quite a few guys that would down 4 or 5 drinks in the hour it took to get home.
    @mug---of course there's more chance dying in a car than a plane. That's not the point, the point is that no matter how safe one tries to make things, accidents will occur. I don't think that people purposely try to ram other cars. I do think reckless driving is terrible. But I don't think lowering the speed limit 5 mph is going to change much. I get nervous when I see people driving like idiots but that's what the law is for. Most major accidents occur way over 30 so lowering the speed to 25 is not a big deal.
  • Cutting the impact speed in a crash from 30mph to 25mph cuts the risk of pedestrian death nearly in half:

    Cutting the speed limit only matters with enforcement, but that's what we need speed cameras for. We're starting to get them, but now we need Albany to let us turn them on at night.
  • Yesterday I was driving home. Was stopped at the light on Park Pl and Saratoga. Light turns green but some jerkweed delivery guy on his electric bike coming up Saratoga decided to keep going. If I wouldn't have beeped him he would have thought running the light was fine. If I would have hit him it would have been my fault even though it was his. Yes, people get killed but it's not always the car's fault. And what I've noticed is people are going slower on EP but they're driving like nuts on St. Johns. And that street won't have cameras, and they'll get away with it.
  • Let's just put in SBS, bike lanes, and a a local bus lane and remove all cars ... Wishful thinking
  • Not entirely wishful:

    Many central business districts are doing exactly that.
  • If we got rid of all the cars the city couldn't make all sorts of money selling medallions to those new green, outer borough cabs. I guess it all depends on where and how much money can be made. You want to get cars off the streets? Here's the easy way.....don't let anyone park for free. You make enough people pay and cars will disappear. Either that or there will be riots.
  • Green cabs don't have medallions.

    That said, I don't want to get rid of all cars in the city but I think that Flatbush would be an amazing experiment to make a main artery much more mass transit safe and bike friendly
  • The city is in a bind:

    Problem 1: Unless public transportation improves, most of the present people with cars will keep them.

    Problem 2: Public transportation can't really be improved until there are less cars.

    Who goes first? It is classic.

    P.S. Don't worry, if you realllly want to have a car in NYC, you'll always be able to have one. It will just become more of a pain in the butt.
  • xlizellx said:

    Green cabs don't have medallions.

    That said, I don't want to get rid of all cars in the city but I think that Flatbush would be an amazing experiment to make a main artery much more mass transit safe and bike friendly



    How? Where else is all that traffic going to go? There really isn't another major N/S street that parallels Flatbush for most of its route.

    For all the traffic that Flatbush sees, it should be wider like Eastern Parkway is.
  • Sure; close Flatbush Ave. and force all the traffic on to local streets so all the local residents, including the elderly and children, can suffer the consequences.  Let's keep the cyclists safe and convenience the commuters at the costs of our children's safety.  We should do this on all other major streets as well...  Because their safety and convenience are more important than the safety of local families sitting on their stoop or going for a walk to visit their neighbor. 

    Geez....

    I think it would make more sense to restrict cyclists to smaller residential streets for their own safety and leave the main thoroughfares alone.  It's definitely safer for them to keep their distance from larger vehicles and not to share the road with them anyway.

    Oh, and don't forget that the cost of our groceries will increase if existing delivery/truck routes are closed.
  • The best thing about keeping a car in New York is being able to get out of New York, without being enslaved by bus or train schedules, being able to combine multiple destinations in a single trip, and having a car when you get to those destinations (which usually have far less public transportation than NYC and its burbs).

    The best way to turn New York into Detroit, ie to create a mass exodus of the monied classes, would be to ban cars from city streets and highways.
  • I think it was in San Francisco where the former head of the public transportation authority said he worked hard to improve the service so he could get more poor people off the road and he could drive to work faster.

    He'd had a few drinks before making the statement...

    ...was called an elitist.

    ...and was replaced a few months later.
  • The best thing about keeping a car in New York is being able to get out of New York, without being enslaved by bus or train schedules, being able to combine multiple destinations in a single trip, and having a car when you get to those destinations (which usually have far less public transportation than NYC and its burbs).


    I agree that the instant you step foot outside of NYC, being a slave to mass transit is a pain in the ass. (I was painfully aware of that when I lived in the DC area and when I visit my bf in Philly.) I have a Zipcar membership because it's not worth the extra set of expenses to own a car here when I would drive it once a week max. I also live in Crown Heights near where many routes of transportation. Much of Flatbush/Ditmas Park/Midwood is not what was formerly a two-fare zone (as opposed to Bergen Beach for example) so why would reducing the number of cars on the road be a big deal?

     The best way to turn New York into Detroit, ie to create a mass exodus of the monied classes, would be to ban cars from city streets and highways.

    Where are the monied classes in Flatbush?


    Okay, if you don't want to get the cars off of Flatbush, you can have Flatbush. We'll get the buses off of Flatbush (along with the dollar vans). @whynot_31, would a B41 SBS work if partially routed on Ocean Avenue (NB) and on Rogers Ave (SB)?

    Should they also institute jug-handle turns off of Flatbush?
  • No space for jug handles.

    Given how much public transportation exists between Brooklyn College and Manhattan, I'd leave that crazy stretch of Flatbush Avenue alone.

    Let the dollar vans, cars, buses, etc fight over that stretch until the end of time.

    Meanwhile, I would put SBS on the stretch of Flatbush south of Brooklyn College. It would run to the most underused piece of public land in the city: Floyd Bennet Field.

    Using money from residential and/or commercial development, it would become a lovely park.

  • Floyd Bennett already hosts the Native American festival and there's a sports arena/hockey rink there. Also the police dept still uses it for their aviation unit so apparently the city considers it used enough.
    @ Llizell----green cabs do have medallions. That's why they have their numbers on the roof. They're not as expensive as full taxi medallions but the city charges for them although I don't know how much.
  • whynot_31 said:




    Okay, no jug handle turns, but ban left-hand turns like they did on the stretch of Flatbush between Atlantic Center and Grand Army Plaza. 

    Where would the B41 SBS terminate near Floyd Bennett Field and how would it turn around?
  • There is no rule that SBS buses have to be long and bendable.


  • @ Llizell----green cabs do have medallions. That's why they have their numbers on the roof. They're not as expensive as full taxi medallions but the city charges for them although I don't know how much.



    I will bet you as much as a medallion costs that they don't have medallions.  
    They are permitted vehicles, NOT medallioned.  Hence they don't have any piece of tin (a medallion) on them.  Permits are dirt cheap and since they aren't medallions cause a lot of problems for the companies that put the expensive credit-card processors into the back - since multiple cars can use the same permit without the companies knowing who actually owns the license.  

    All that said, using a car to leave the city is a great idea.  Flatbush Avenue south of Atlantic, though, isn't needed for that goal.  I think the 6ish miles of Flatbush that go Atlantic to the bridge to the Rockaways should be car-free.  Of course, I then think we'd need other services put in place - an SBS and double the number of Limited and Local B41 buses would decrease the need for illegal Dollar Vans.  More subway lines (INCLUDED MY PINED-FOR X-LINE - http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/politics/2012/04/5772951/surprising-return-three-borough-x-line-subway ), more reliable buses, and more bike lanes will decrease the need for cars.  I worked at a public school for years where I was the only person who didn't drive.  All of my coworkers lived in Brooklyn, save 2.  They drove because it was multiple transfers and long waits to get places.  Some days it was quicker to walk the 3 miles to work than take the train to the bus as I did each day.  If we could make mass transit more convenient, accessible, and connected more people would use their cars for the reason discussed above - to get out of town.  

    As for there a B41 SBS would turn around, why not at the other part of the Gateway park that is in Queens (Reiis Beach area)?

    Whynot --  I don't see a need for an SBS only south of the Junction since traffic is MUCH less at that point -- it's the north of the Junction part of Flatbush that is dangerous and congested.
  • I would still start with the southern portion.

    I am also working on designing a long bus that can be driven from either end, and -hence- never needs to turn around.
  • Those are called trains....mostly they run underground.
  • I think such a bus would work. It would be free from rails.
  • Those are called trains....mostly they run underground.



    Years ago there were proposals for subway extensions running along Utica and on Nostrand south of the Junction. Unlike the Second Avenue subway, these never got off the ground and I doubt anyone would seriously attempt to revive them now.
  • Getting out of town from anywhere in the city means using city streets (such as Flatbush Avenue) to reach the various bridges or tunnels that allow you to Escape From New York (that was a movie title, of course, but the context was somewhat different.

    If you prohibit traffic on a major artery like Flatbush Avenue, you're just shifting the traffic to the streets where children live and, too often, play.
  • Yes, most of cities that have prohibited cars have only done so for their city centers.

    ....not their arteries.

    This allows people to still get around, and balances that with the "pedestrian mall" or "college quad" experience people crave.
  • Re: banning left terms on Flatbush Ave., there's a long stretch going south from Lefferts to Winthrop were there are no through streets on which to turn right (west).

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