The Brooklyn Public Library on Norman Avenue was host to the first Vision Zero forum in the neighborhood Thursday night, covering traffic-related concerns for North Brooklyn residents.
Vision Zero for Greenpoint was the first of several meetings being organized by Transportation Alternatives, the non-profit, traffic safety advocacy group, along with local electeds to address Mayor Bill de Blasio’s ambitious plan to eliminate traffic-related fatalities by 2024.
“We can’t just accept the old ways of doing things,” said Assemblyman Joe Lentol at the forum. “Cyclists, vehicles and pedestrians have to face new realities. Until we reeducate our drivers especially about right of way pedestrians need to be extra cautious, but this process is important because it protects the people of our state.”
The forum also allowed residents to offer their opinions on existing safety measures, identify dangerous intersections, and provide potential solutions.
“Greenpoint needs safer streets,” said Drew Levitt, a representative from Transportation Alternatives, who led the meeting. “We live in a neighborhood bisected by McGuinness Boulevard, which is a very busy street. We have a vibrant and tight knit neighborhood that is facing challenges.”
Those in attendance at Thursday’s meeting were split into three groups – Engineering, Education, and Enforcement.
The first group identified key trouble spots in the neighborhood, and marked them with red dots on a large map created for the forum. The group discussed immediate remedies like pedestrian islands and more crosswalks.
Those in the second group talked about the creation of “failure to yield,” signs and about bike forums organized in conjunction with Community Board 1 to ensure the safety of residents and cyclists in this bike heavy neighborhood.
The third discussed increased coordination with the 94th precinct – to put the measures into action.
Thursday’s forum follows a series of pedestrian, cyclist and vehicular accidents that have taken place in North Brooklyn since the start of the year – including the recent death of 21-year-old nursing student Marisol Martinez who was run over by a bus at what many at Thursday’s meeting deemed the “triangle of death,” the deadly intersection of Union, Metropolitan, and Meeker Avenues.
Transportation Alternatives is scheduled to have a larger public forum regarding Vision Zero in Williamsburg next month.