Vision Zero: De Blasio Administration And Elected Officials Tour Ninth Street Construction Project, As Major Redesign Nears Completion

August 23, 2018

Along major Park Slope cross street, where two children and an unborn baby were killed in a March crash, new pedestrian safety improvements and protected bike lanes will calm traffic and protect all street users

BROOKLYN—Mayor Bill de Blasio announced today that the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) is nearing completion of its safety redesign of Ninth Street in Park Slope, Brooklyn, where a crash in March took the lives of two children and an unborn baby.   As part of City Hall in Your Borough, Deputy Mayor Laura Anglin and senior DOT officials were joined by Borough President Eric Adams and Council Member Brad Lander to walk-through and review the construction project that is expected to calm traffic and deliver Vision Zero safety benefits to a formerly crash-prone corridor — with completion slated for next month.

“To say the March crash in Park Slope hit close to home would be an understatement,” said Mayor de Blasio.  “As a parent who has walked with my children across Ninth Street countless times, I want to thank the DOT planners, designers and now work crews who are delivering this better, safer street.  We cannot undo that terrible afternoon five months ago, but these safety improvements will help prevent future tragic crashes on this busy street. We will continue working diligently towards our Vision Zero goal, here and across the city.”

“Today, New York City pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers are safer because of Vision Zero,” said Deputy Mayor Laura Anglin. “Over the past four years, we have worked with our DOT, government and community partners to reduce traffic fatalities, and we will continue building on our efforts to protect New Yorkers.”

“Following the tragic crash here on Ninth Street, our designers and engineers worked closely with the Park Slope community to quickly and thoughtfully develop a safe and smart redesign of what has for too long been a wide street on which cars traveled dangerously fast,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “Under Mayor de Blasio’s leadership, we are this week transforming Ninth Street — expanding pedestrian space, while adding safer crossings and protected bicycle lanes — making it safer for everyone who lives, works or shops in the neighborhood.”

The redesign focuses on improved pedestrian and cyclist safety, with such enhancements as

  • Protected bicycle lanes on both sides of Ninth Street for six avenue blocks (nearly one-mile distance, from Prospect Park West to 3rd Avenue) with shortened crossings and slow-turn treatments at intersections

 

  • Modified loading regulations to reduce double parking
  • New narrower travel lanes reduce speeding while maintaining vehicle flow and emergency access.

 

On March 5th, a driver who had run a red light struck several pedestrians in a crosswalk at Ninth Street and Fifth Avenue, killing 19-month-old Joshua Lew and four-year-old Abigail Blumenstein, and seriously wounding several others, including Abigail's pregnant mother Ruthie Ann Miles, whose injuries later resulted in the death of her unborn baby. Ninth Street is a high-crash corridor; between 2012 and 2016, 12 people were killed or seriously injured on Ninth Street between 3rd Ave and Prospect Park West. With 13.6 people killed or severely injured (KSI) per mile, Ninth Street ranks in the top third of Brooklyn corridors for traffic deaths and serious injuries. 

After the deadly crash in March of this year, DOT drew up the proposed redesign and presented it at a May town hall held with Council Member Brad Lander and the Park Slope Street Safety Partnership. In June, Brooklyn Community Board 6’s Transportation Committee approved the plan unanimously, as did the Executive Committee of CB 6, acting on behalf of the full board during its summer hiatus.   

This week, DOT crews are continuing to put in pavement markings for the redesign and are beginning to paint the protected bike lane green. Work on the project for the entire corridor is expected to be completed by mid-September.

“Safety must be the paramount priority on our streets, especially for neighborhoods like Park Slope that know too well what is at stake when poor planning puts children and families in harm’s way,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams. “I truly appreciate community leadership like the Park Slope Street Safety Partnership in making the long-needed redesign of Ninth Street a reality, tackling chronic concerns such as double parking and speeding. As we look toward a future where Vision Zero comes into clearer focus, let’s remember that cyclists, drivers, pedestrians, and transit riders can and must co-exist safely on our city’s streets, from Park Slope to Parkchester.”

“I would like to thank Mayor de Blasio and his team at NYCDOT for their responsiveness to the community and taking quick action to secure badly needed safety improvements along 9th Street, said Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez. “The redesign has incorporated common sense steps to make the street safer for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists alike. While nothing can ease the pain of losing Abigail, Joshua and Sophia, I am grateful that our community has responded to their heart-wrenching loss with meaningful action to help prevent future tragedies.”

“I am delighted to hear that the Vision Zero safety redesign along the 9th Street corridor in Park Slope is near completion. Our community is changing and with this redesign, Vision Zero takes an important step to ensure that infrastructure is changing to meet the needs of all Brooklyn residents by increasing safety regulations for pedestrians and cyclists, and reducing traffic congestion by modifying current loading regulations,” said Rep. Yvette Clarke. “I applaud Mayor DeBlasio and the Department of Transportation for their efforts and share their commitment to keeping our communities safe for all.”

"Safety is always our paramount concern; we must always insure that our streets and roads are safe for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists,” said Felix W. Ortiz, Assistant Speaker of the New York State Assembly. “I welcome the new safety improvements along Ninth Street to protect everyone from future tragedies. These safety improvements should make Park Slope a safer community."

“The safety of our children and our community must be our highest priority.  Several intersections on 9th Street are dangerous and confusing, and recently have been the scene of several tragic deaths and injuries. I am pleased that the City and DOT are taking action to calm the traffic along 9th Street and improve the street environment so drivers are forced to be more vigilant, keeping all of us safer,” said Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon.

“Our roads must be safe to pedestrians, cyclists and drivers. The untimely deaths of Joshua and Abigail are a reminder that we must always do more to prevent transit fatalities, especially where our children may be most vulnerable,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, Chair of the Council Committee on Transportation.

“Our hearts were broken in March when Abigail Blumenstein and Joshua Lew were killed at the intersection of 9th Street and 5th Avenue,” said Council Member Brad Lander. “At the time of the tragedy, Mayor de Blasio and NYC Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg committed to bring forward a plan to make 9th Street safer, and I'm grateful that they were good to their word, moved forward with construction extremely quickly, and have now nearly completed the redesign.  We remain deeply committed to Vision Zero, to that day when no New Yorkers are killed in traffic crashes. We must keep working every day to get there, through design changes like this one, and also through smarter enforcement to get reckless drivers off our streets before they kill.”

"We commend the Department of Transportation for following through on a Ninth Street redesign that prioritizes pedestrians, protects cyclists, and tames drivers. These changes will save lives on this corridor, because good street design is always on duty," said Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives. "As we work toward eliminating deaths and serious injuries on our streets, designs like these ought to be the rule, not the exception."

"On behalf of our community, I want to thank Mayor de Blasio, his entire administration and specifically the Department of Transportation,” said Sayar Lonial, Chair of Brooklyn Community Board 6. “Not only for making a commitment to safety, but for quickly enacting safer streets through a public design process that heeded the needs of our neighborhood, the bustling demands of an important commercial corridor; all while protecting our diverse multi-generational community.”

For more information about the de Blasio Administration’s Vision Zero initiative, please see www.nyc.gov/visionzero.

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