Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D, Brooklyn) is taking the NYS Department of Transportation to task for failing to heed warnings regarding recent changes and restrictions on Ocean Parkway in Brooklyn. The Ocean Parkway Safety Improvement Project that the DOT implemented has resulted in far less safe conditions for drivers and pedestrians, says Hikind.
“Despite my repeated warnings and request for a delay in the implementation of these changes, the New York State DOT’s plan, which it hastened to implement, eliminated right and left turns along the mainline at several avenues,” Hikind explained in a letter to NYS Department of Transportation Commissioner Matthew Driscoll. “As our community expected, some of these changes have snarled traffic and created far less safe conditions along the service roads, to say nothing of greater confusion to both motorists and pedestrians alike. The proof is in the increase in accidents in just the short time that these changes have gone into effect.”
In the six weeks from January 1st through February 15th, there have already been three (3) accidents on Kings Highway, four (4) accidents at Avenue P, and nine (9) accidents on Avenue J. Assemblyman Hikind’s office is continuously besieged by irate residents who have told horror stories of being stuck in traffic along the service roads; of school buses trapped behind sanitation and delivery trucks; and of parents unable to get their children to school on time. What had once been a 10 minute ride to a school now takes 35 minutes. Because of the turn restrictions, trying to get onto the Ocean Parkway mainline is now a nightmare of navigating side streets and service roads, simultaneously endangering pedestrians and residents on these streets.
“No matter where I go,” Hikind continued, “the overriding concern voiced to me is that of the additional traffic and changes along Ocean Parkway. In the 35 years that I have represented this district, I have never received as many complaints as I have regarding this issue. I have yet to meet a single resident who has felt that these changes have improved the community‘s safety. If anything, it has only served to reduce the quality of life, as it has forced more cars onto the surrounding side streets.”
Assemblyman Hikind requested that the DOT review and reconsider the turn-restriction changes that have been implemented before a real tragedy occurs.