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Event Highlights Need for Street Safety Improvements

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The intersection of Atlantic Avenue and Utica Avenue in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn was the scene of an event last Friday that highlighted the need for street improvements. So far this year, 184 motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists have been injured (based on data through April 30).

Members of the groups Transportation Alternatives and Bed-Stuy Safe Streets will help people cross the street and collect information on the safety improvements they would like to see. The goal of the event is to push the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) to study the intersection and make changes that would improve safety. Between July 2012 and December 2014, there were 2,253 injuries and 14 fatalities along Atlantic Avenue.

As a result of these sobering numbers, an eight-mile stretch of Atlantic Avenue was the first of NYC’s 25 arterial “Slow Zones,” which saw the speed limit reduced from 30 mph to 25 mph. However, safety advocates say that the width of the street encourages speeding, often at twice the posted limit. Having a speed limit, they say, does not always force drivers to slow down.

The groups hope that improvements will include designated bike lanes, more crossing time, pedestrian plazas and a reduction in the width of the street to limit speeding.