New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Polly Trottenberg was joined today by Councilmember Rafael Espinal to officially unveil several safety improvements at the busy five-legged intersection where Jamaica Avenue, Pennsylvania Avenue, Bushwick Avenue, and the Jackie Robinson Parkway meet in Brooklyn. The improvements, part of the de Blasio Administration’s Vision Zero commitment to street redesign, includes new pedestrian crossings, expanded pedestrian space, simplified traffic signals, modified signal timing, and modified traffic patterns to enhance safety and streamline traffic flow.
“Before this comprehensive redesign, the entrance to the Jackie Robinson Parkway was among the hairiest intersections for pedestrians in all of Brooklyn -- with hundreds of crashes over the last few years,” said NYC DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “We are grateful to local leaders like Councilmember Espinal who have helped spearhead our local Vision Zero safety efforts. With their support, we have transformed a complex intersection in a residential neighborhood -- previously designed more like a highway entrance – that allows all users to move more smoothly. Most importantly, pedestrians will now be protected with more clearly-marked crosswalks, new islands and predictable vehicle turns that can safely get them where they need to go.”
“You enter this 5-point intersection with a hope and a prayer. Whether you’re driving, riding, cycling or walking, it has to be among one of the most precarious intersections in the state. If there was ever an intersection that warranted the full weight of Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero initiative, this is it. I thank the Mayor, Commissioner Trottenberg and Councilmember Espinal for their efforts to remedy it,” said Senator Martin Malavé Dilan.
“New Yorker’s should never be afraid to cross the street,” said NYC Council Member Rafael Espinal. “I am happy to see this once lethal maze of an intersection transformed into a more pedestrian- friendly zone with smart designs. My constituents will never again have to guess when and where to cross to get to their destination. In following with Mayor de Blasio’s goals, Vision Zero remains a top priority for our city and I commend the Department of Transportation’s efforts under the effective direction of Commissioner Trottenberg.”
“The completion of safety renovations at the Jackie Robinson Parkway entrance in Cypress Hills is welcomed by motorists and pedestrians alike,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams. “It is unacceptable that this intersection has for too long caused hundreds of injuries, when we know how to re-engineer roads and signage to make it safer to cross the street for all. Vision Zero has made marked improvements in the flow of traffic across our borough, reducing crashes and fatalities. These upgrades at just one busy junction demonstrate how we can come together to make Brooklyn a safer place to walk, drive, and bike.”
“I applaud Commissioner Trottenberg, Councilmember Espinal and all those who were involved in securing a number of potentially life-saving safety improvements,” said Congresswoman Nydia Velasquez. “At a notoriously busy and dangerous intersection, these additions will benefit pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers, and will ultimately make the community and city a safer place for us all.”
Two of the streets meeting at this busy intersection, Bushwick Avenue and Pennsylvania Avenue, are Vision Zero Priority Corridors with a history of crashes. The redesign added several crosswalks and pedestrian signals at the intersection, including on the north end of the intersection, where hundreds of pedestrians per day crossed the parkway entrance itself, with no marked crosswalks. Many of the pedestrians walking through the intersection are making their way to and from local transit hubs less than a half-mile away, including five NYCT bus lines, the Long Island Rail Road East NY station and the Broadway Junction subway, with access to the A,C, L, J and Z trains. Between 2010 and 2014, the intersection was the site of 373 injuries, including 7 severe injuries. None of the injuries were fatal.
As part of its comprehensive redesign, DOT made the following safety improvements:
- Installed two new crosswalks with pedestrian signals across the middle and the parkway side of the intersection to improve safety for pedestrians as they cross.
- Reconstructed and expanded a pedestrian island in the new north crosswalk on the Jackie Robinson Parkway.
- Installed a pedestrian island in the east crosswalk on Jamaica Avenue.
- Banned left turns from eastbound Jamaica Avenue to Bushwick Avenue due to low usage to allow for expansion of a median that created shorter crossings for pedestrians. This turn ban also alleviates congestion by giving additional green signal time for Jamaica Avenue bound traffic exiting the Jackie Robinson Parkway.
- Adjusted traffic pattern and lane markings on eastbound Jamaica Avenue to separate parkway-bound traffic and local traffic to alleviate congestion.
- Limited left turns from northbound Pennsylvania Avenue onto Jamaica Avenue from two lanes to one, due to low volume, enhancing safety for pedestrians and motor vehicle occupants.
- Simplified the signal display and lane designation markings on northbound Pennsylvania Avenue to reduce confusion and streamline traffic movements.
- Created seven new parking spots on the south curb along Jamaica Avenue between Sheffield Avenue and Pennsylvania Avenue.
- Added brighter LED lighting across the entire intersection.
The new crosswalks and pedestrian signals create safer crossings for pedestrians, while the pedestrian islands and median extensions shorten crossing distances and create safe spaces for pedestrians to wait. In addition, the new median-to-median crosswalk and modified signal timing give pedestrians more flexibility to cross the intersection. The turn bans, signal adjustments, and new traffic pattern reduce conflicts in the intersection and streamline traffic movements. All of these enhancements will make the entire area a safer and more efficient roadway that works for everyone.
About Vision Zero:
In January 2017, after three successive years of declines in traffic fatalities, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced New York City would make an additional $400 million investment in Vision Zero – for a total of $1.6 billion over the next five years. DOT is implementing its most aggressive street redesign safety program, an increased investment in street redesign and traffic-calming measures citywide. Other Vision Zero changes announced by the Mayor include ensuring NYPD crossing guards at every post, faster replacement of street markings, intersection upgrades in the bike-lane network, more left-turn calming efforts, brighter lighting and more equipment at each police precinct to catch speeding.
For information on Vision Zero, visit www.nyc.gov/visionzero
For more information about the work of DOT, please visit www.nyc.gov/dot