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Council Puts Brakes on Ped Plazas and Bike Lanes

Two transportation measures were approved on Tuesday, which will hold the DOT more accountable for street re-configurations, including pedestrian plazas and bike lanes.

The City Council approved two transportation measures on Tuesday, one of which will require more community input before streets can be reconfigured, while the other will require reports on street changes within 18 months of their implementation, according to the Gotham Gazette. 

In other words, every proposed pedestrian plaza and bike lane will now go through a much more rigorous review and follow-up process.

“The days when the Department of Transportation could unilaterally reconfigure our streetscapes are gone," James Vacca, transportation committee chair, told the Gazette. Vacca sponsored both bills.

The first measure would require a consultation between the DOT and Small Business Services, police and fire departments and other city agencies, before streets can be reconfigured. The Council and local community boards would also be involved in the planning process.

The second measure will require the DOT to provide reports on street changes within 18 months, which will include statistics on traffic, accidents and emergency vehicle response times.

Will all of these extra steps slow the implementation of initiatives to make New York City’s streets friendlier for pedestrians and bikers? Or will they help to curb problems that have spring up because of poor street planning? The Gazette notes that pedestrian plazas have been hard for the disabled (especially the visually impaired) to navigate, have hurt small businesses and have made routes tougher for emergency response vehicles.

New pedestrian islands and crosswalks have made while also helping the flow of traffic for cars. Residents lauded the changes last month. The DOT also recently redesigned  nearby Washington Avenue to makr it .

But in Clinton Hill over the summer, residents like community organizer Schellie Hagan at Putnam Triangle, saying that the plans were “forced” on them “without any proper research.”

Fellow protestors believed that the use of $400,000 of city money for the plaza was “a waste of taxpayer money.” 

, between Flatbush and Broadway, hoped to calm traffic earlier this year, but many residents were skeptical that it would help. 

“There are traffic-calming needs on Lafayette Avenue,” John Dew, chairman of Community Board 2 told Patch in February. “But we feel that [the city] should look at other alternatives besides just a bike lane.”

Do you think the DOT needs to slow down it’s street re-configuring plans, or has the agency been making New York City’s streets friendlier?

Giacomo December 04, 2011 at 08:03 PM
Oh come on Surrey...this is the best you have? Your video link clearly states that it was shot at the opening day block party to "celebrate" the triangle. Why don't I think there's that many people boogieing down daily at he plaza? That's like showing Times Sq at 11:59pm Dec 31st as a typical example of usage! "The people who oppose stuff like this have no good arguments, only fear and ignorance" See THAT'S the problem with the traffic alt people . No sense of balance or thought that these things are not practical in EVERY circumstance, and any resident or merchant that dare express opposition or doubt is "ignorant".
Surrey December 04, 2011 at 09:50 PM
The merchants here love it. The local bodega owner says that people come in and buy stuff so they can stay and sit in the plaza. I doubt too many people were driving to the neighborhood, circling for a parking space, and running in to buy a Coke. You are right. Ped plazas don't make sense everywhere, but this one makes a lot of sense. Opposing THIS one involves fear and ignorance.
Jake December 05, 2011 at 02:08 AM
A week or so ago my son (9) and I stopped on the way home from school at the Putnam Triangle. He did some homework. I listened to two Pratt students (?) talk about classes, and nodded at the older gentlemen who used to hang out in front of what will soon be the Food Coop. Traffic on Putnam has changed - for the better, as cars seem less inclined to race from the light at Classon to a green on Grand. The lights on Grand have been recaliberate to allow the buses (and cars) to make both lights from Putnam to Fulton. Thumbs up!
Sol Padilla December 06, 2011 at 09:24 PM
I didn't know there's a school at the Putnam Triangle. When did that get added? What next?
Sol Padilla December 06, 2011 at 10:48 PM
It's well known that Shelley Hagen has a fine sense of the political zeitgeist. All last year she was pointing out the need to bring the arrogant and arbitrary DOT to heel. And now the City Council has unanimously passed two bills to do just that! Someone seems to be listening to the "lone crank."

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