Bushwick, NY- Mixed opinions rose after a power point presentation kicked off the first meeting of Community Board #4, the board for Bushwick in Brooklyn. After a two-month vacation, the Community Board came together on Wednesday September 21st at 6:00pm for the first time since June. The meeting was held at Hope Gardens Multi-Service Center on Linden St. at the corner of Wilson Avenue. The board's chairwoman, Ms. Julie Dent, led the meeting along with 33 board members and a crowd of approximately 40 people from the public, a slim crowd compared to the over 100 that attended the Community Board #2 in Manhattan.
Community board at #4*
Representatives of the Department of Design and Construction presented one of their new projects concerning school safety improvements. This is a citywide project adding up to a total project cost of $2,883,365, according to their website.Construction is planned to begin in the Fall of 2011 and completed in the Spring of 2012. The DDC's city project will include the implementation of ramps at schools, trees and street lights. The project proposed to the Bushwick community specifically, would be to expand 8 intersections near throughout Brooklyn, the intersections are in the vicinity of schools and will create a better field of vision from the driver’s point of view.
Left: Expanded sidewalk at intersection
The DDC representative said, “The intersections will create the illusion of the road getting smaller,” he added added, “so most of the cars will want to slow down.”
Studies conducted in 1998 proved that there was an annual total of 400 pedestrian fatalities, which is more than a 10% increase from the pedestrian fatalities in 2010 according to the New York Pedestrian Safety Study and Action Plan. According to the presentation, the DDC conducted studies at several intersections around grade schools in Brooklyn and Queens. And chose the intersections in their similarity to those they chose in Bushwick.
There was a recommendation in favor of the project by a public attendee, John Wright, 54. However, the board, with support from several voices in the community, decided that voting would be suspended after a resident of Bushwick avenue and Putnam street, an intended location for the project, testified. He insisted that since the study had been conducted, stop signals had been erected at the corners.
“We need up to date data.” He said “since the studies they have made adjustments.”
Worries arose over neighborhood disruption during the construction, snow pileup. There were fears that the project would have become obsolete due to studies that were conducted in 1998 at intersections similar, but not the intersections that were described. In response, the DDC insists that the contractor will be responsible for all damages and an outcome of child safety as well as a high percent decrease of pedestrian casualties. However, they are aware of the inconveniences and appreciate those being effected by them according to the DDC's official website.
The DDC already has the money to begin the project and the board must accept or reject the referendum. Vice chairwoman, Ms. Martha Brown, meditated on what the outcome of the project may be and the public’s influence.
“They are already funded.” She said, “they will probably go along with it, however,” she added, “if the community feels strong enough they can make a difference.” The decision will be made Tuesday September 27th in the same location.