Town hall addresses recent ped deaths in Brooklyn nabes
by Holly Bieler
Jan 14, 2015 | 2807 views | 0 0 comments | 91 91 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Councilman Brad Lander hosted a town hall meeting last Thursday to address growing concerns over street safety in the Windsor Terrace and Kensington communities.

Lander called the meeting, held at PS 130 with the Department of Transportation (DOT) and Community Board 7, following the death of 14-year-old Mohammed Naiem Uddin, a Brooklyn Tech High School student killed in a hit-and-run on November 21.

The accident occurred just steps from where the new P.S. 437 will open next September. His was the latest in an alarming string of pedestrian fatalities in the two neighborhoods and nearby communities. In the last 13 months alone, three students from M.S. 51, where Uddin was a student, have been hit and killed.

“We had a year where we had too many tragedies,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “But we’re now seeing some progress. This is something we really want to get to work on.”

Uddin’s family sat in the audience as Trottenberg and DOT Project Manager Rob Viola outlined a series of proposed improvements along Caton Avenue and near area schools, as well as wider efforts to increase safety throughout Kensington and Windsor Terrace.

Major projects include the Caton Avenue Corridor Project, a proposal currently in development by DOT that would reduce the stretch from Coney Island Avenue to Ocean Parkway to one lane in each direction by summer 2015, as well as major curb extensions at Caton Avenue and East 7th and 8th streets, slated for completion this spring.

Smaller-scale proposals included more speed bumps and crossing guards, updated signs and parking, reduced speed zones around school areas, and leading pedestrian intervals, which gives pedestrians exclusive time to cross streets before vehicles moves.

Some of these developments have cropped up across the city with increased frequency in recent months, as DOT has begun work on Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero initiative, which aims to greatly reduce pedestrian casualties.

“Communities are requesting this more and more,” Viola said of leading pedestrian intervals. “You’re going to be seeing more of this treatment all over the city as Vision Zero goes forward. It’s a good thing for pedestrians.”

As the presentation closed, attendees were able to address Lander and Viola directly, asking questions, suggesting their intersections and streets as prime locations for speed bumps and DOT assessments, or airing the frustrations and fears shared by many parents in the community.

“I worry about my son getting killed,” said a young mother to Lander.

“There are a lot of things we need to change,” said Mamnunul Haq, a member of Community Board 12, as the last community members spoke. “I know [the councilman] is working quite hard, but we do need to come up with something concrete. My heart breaks for Mohammed Naiem Uddin’s family, such a brilliant child.”

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