Park Avenue & Under the BQE

Using input and suggestions gathered at community workshops, we collaborated with Architecture for Humanity New York (AFHNY) to create the Park Avenue Pedestrian Safety Plan, a set of recommendations to improve pedestrian safety on Park Avenue under the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE) in Fort Greene, Wallabout and Clinton Hill between Navy and Steuben Streets.  These proposals were developed with guidance from an Advisory Committee, made up of representatives from local block associations, tenants associations, residential developments, community-based organizations, city agencies and other stakeholders.  The overarching goals of the interventions proposed were to improve pedestrian safety and calm vehicular traffic, to create a safer corridor for residents and visitors.

Background

During 2009 and 2010, we conducted three community workshops focused on improving the spaces under and around the BQE in Fort Greene, Wallabout and Clinton Hill.  Pedestrian safety on Park Avenue was a priority issue for community residents.  Speeding cars, faded cross-walks, dangerous intersections, and an absence of traffic lights are some of the specific problems that the community identified.  In late 2010, a team of volunteer consultants from Architecture for Humanity New York (AFHNY) joined the project, conducting site research and facilitating additional workshops, focusing specifically on traffic calming and pedestrian safety.  The proposals in the final report are the result, in large part, of the research and workshops that have taken place since early 2011.

Timeline

April 2009: Spacebuster Workshop facilitated by Pratt urban planning students under the BQE
September 2010: Parking Day Potluck with Design Trust for Public Space under the BQE
October 2010: Envisioning Under the BQE Workshop facilitated by Pratt urban planning studio at PS67
November 2010: Envisioning Under the BQE Workshop for Teens facilitated by Pratt urban planning studio at Benjamin Banneker Academy
November 2011: Park Ave Pedestrian Safety Workshop with AFHNY at Benjamin Banneker Academy
February 2012: Surveys conducted by AFHNY at Sacred Heart Church
April 2012: Advisory Committee convenes; presentation to Community Board 2 Transportation Committee for feedback
May 2012: Presentation of Draft Proposals for Park Avenue Pedestrian Safety with AFH at Navy Yard Houses
May 2012: Advisory Committee meeting; presentation to Community Board 2 Transportation Committee (received resolution of support)
Summer 2012: Gathered over 1,000 signatures of support via online and paper petitions
Spring 2014: DOT proposed safety changes based on Park Avenue Pedestrian Safety Plan
Summer/Fall 2014: DOT implements changes
Improvements to date include:

  • DOT installed daylighting regulations at 7 locations
  • DOT installed a temporary “skeleton board,” alerting drivers to their travel speed
  • DOT performed “strip repaving” along sections of the parking areas under the BQE
  • DOT installed 9 new streetlights
  • DOT installed bollards along select parking area exits to reduce conflicts with pedestrians
  • DOT “rationalized” eastbound Park Avenue from two lanes to one to reduce speed and calm traffic
  • DOT reconfigured the awkward 3-to-2 merge where westbound Williamsburg Street turns into westbound Park Avenue.
  • DOT re-timed traffic lights along Park Avenue to give pedestrians more crossing time (north-south).
  • DOT installed Stop signs at the parking area exits.