Upfront of tonight’s vigil for the most recent Sundown Park bicycle owner to be killed on Third Avenue, Council candidate Whitney Hu supplied these ideas. The vigil can be held at 5 p.m. at Second Avenue and fifty fifth Avenue, close to the positioning of Clara Kang’s dying.
Sundown Park is among the most harmful neighborhoods within the metropolis due to our streets. Final 12 months, we had virtually seven crashes per day, 5 Sundown Park residents have been killed, and tons of extra have been injured. But, the Division of Transportation has been sluggish to make our streets safer for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists even because the neighborhood comes collectively to demand modifications at vigil after vigil.
Clara Kang was a beloved nurse who was struck down and killed after working an in a single day shift at NYU Langone–Brookyn. She was biking residence on Third Avenue and 56th Avenue, only a few blocks away from the South Brooklyn Mutual Help warehouse. I seemed on the warehouse’s full bike rack and felt the dread of realizing that it may have simply been any of our volunteers.
Clara’s tragic dying comes after a 12 months by which Third Avenue was lethal for thus many cyclists and pedestrians: Hugo Alexander Sinto Garcia was killed biking to work at twenty eighth Avenue. Pedestrian Fernando Trejo was killed in a hit-and-run at 52nd Avenue. Em Samolewicz was killed by a driver at 36th Street. Brendan Gill was walking home when he was killed on thirty ninth Avenue.
Final summer time, at the vigil for Samolewicz, Rep. Nydia Velazquez pushed on DOT to lastly end the elusive South Brooklyn a part of the Brooklyn Greenway to lastly join Brooklyn’s waterfront communities. Rep. Velazquez secured over $14 million in federal funding in 2005 for this venture. Greater than 15 years later, Pink Hook and Sundown Park are nonetheless left ready.
It’s past time for the DOT to complete the Brooklyn Greenway to present pedestrians and cyclists a secure path. As well as, DOT should redesign Third Avenue with higher crosswalks that embody reflective crosswalk indicators, flashing lights and nighttime lighting. DOT must also consider parking restrictions, particularly close by crosswalks, which may impede drivers’ imaginative and prescient. DOT ought to put money into pace humps to decelerate drivers, particularly in high-trafficked areas.
It’s additionally necessary for DOT to contemplate placing a devoted bus lane on Third Avenue and join individuals to the working waterfront safely. Buses are accessible and pleasant to those that have restricted mobility, seniors and households, thus providing greener options to those that are unable to stroll or bike lengthy stretches.
The proposed Brooklyn Greenway would lastly put a protected path on the lethal hall between Hamilton Avenue and sixty fifth Avenue below the Gowanus Expressway. DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg admitted herself that this space was lethal, and late final December lowered the pace restrict from 30 mph to 25 mph. However Trottenberg did not choose Third Avenue in DOT’s Inexperienced Wave in pre-pandemic 2020, as an alternative pushing the Greenway again once more to 2021 for a supposed (and doubtful) full implementation. Sundown Park did get protected bike lanes on Fourth Avenue, however these bike lanes had been slated to be accomplished within the spring, 2018.
With COVID-19, many New Yorkers have turned to biking as an alternative of commuting on subways to cut back the chance of unfold. Gross sales of bikes have almost doubled nationwide and there’s a scarcity in bikes in New York Metropolis. In keeping with CrashMapper, in only one month — September — Sundown Park had 88 complete crashes, with 10 cyclists injured. It’s necessary and significant that DOT and the mayor prioritize protected bike lanes and pedestrian pathways, particularly in communities of colour like Sundown Park.
That is crucial due to how Black, Indigenous, and Folks of Coloration are at all times deprioritized in conversations of road security, regardless that BIPOC communities usually endure essentially the most from unsafe streets and heavy site visitors. It is usually necessary to notice that campaigns like Imaginative and prescient Zero usually push extra regulation enforcement into communities of colour, even once they checklist officer-initiated enforcement as a final resort. After we discuss road security, we should achieve this by means of a racial justice lens and ensure we’re combating for equitable measures that embody precise investments and road planning to make our roads safer.
It’s additionally time for DOT to hearken to Neighborhood Board 7, which has been demanding extra motion to cut back the influence of trucking. Higher understanding the consequences of truck use is crucial as a result of many Sundown Park residents are in shut proximity to the Gowanus Expressway, which additionally has been linked to the excessive charges of bronchial asthma seen in a neighborhood that holds important employees, immigrant households and extra, who’ve been disproportionately impacted by the consequences of COVID-19. This trucking research would come at a time when builders proceed to position as-of-right final mile trucking services into the neighborhood which erodes not solely road security, however totally contradicts the neighborhood’s need for local weather justice and well being.
It’s crucial on this house and time that we work on creating livable, really safer cities. This implies we should plan and create infrastructure and streets that prioritize pedestrians and various modes of transportation and local weather justice. For individuals who we have now misplaced and for all of us who stay within the metropolis.
Whitney Hu is a neighborhood organizer and operating for Metropolis Council Candidate for District 38. Observe her marketing campaign on Twitter @whitney_hu.
Native New Yorker. Travel addict. Hardcore thinker. Analyst. Pop culture fanatic. I live in Queens with my wife Linda and our dog Clemenza.