Although the new pedestrian plaza at Myrtle and Wyckoff avenues has been in operation since October, the Department of Transportation (DOT) officially unveiled the plaza at the Ridgewood/Bushwick border on Friday, Dec. 2.
As part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero initiative, Wyckoff Avenue is listed as a priority area, while the intersection of Palmetto Street and Myrtle Avenue is a priority intersection, and both Myrtle Avenue and Palmetto Street are Vision Zero priority corridors.
Because of these factors, and that, according to the DOT, between 2010 and 2014 the intersection had seen 38 serious traffic injuries and three fatalities, the six-legged intersection was redesigned after months of community input from both the Queens and Brooklyn sides with the aim of making the area safer for pedestrians and motorists.
DOT Queens Borough Commissioner Nicole Garcia and Brooklyn Borough Commissioner Keith Bray were joined at the intersection by Councilman Antonio Reynoso, Brooklyn Community Board 4 member Nancy Liao, Queens Community Board 5 (CB 5) District Manager Gary Giordano, Myrtle Avenue Business Improvement District (BID) Executive Director Ted Renz, members of Families for Safe Streets, and the family of Ella Kottick Bandes, the 23-year-old girl who was killed at the intersection in 2013 to officially unveil the new safety measures at the new plaza.
“Residents of Brooklyn and Queens can join hands across the border between our boroughs today to celebrate this great new two-borough pedestrian plaza,” DOT Borough Commissioners Garcia and Bray said. “This plaza will not only bring a central gathering place to the border of our two boroughs for years to come, the safety changes around the plaza will provide a safer passage for tens of thousands of daily commuters. Under Vision Zero, we are always looking for ways to make our streets safer — and sometimes the best way of doing that is to return that space to the community.”
At the intersection, DOT implemented these new safety features:
- Created the new pedestrian plaza between Gates and Myrtle avenues;
- Converted Wyckoff Avenue to one-way southbound from Myrtle Avenue to Madison Street;
- Widened crosswalks to match widened paint-based sidewalk extensions;
- Installed flexible bollards;
- Reconfigured signal timing, increasing pedestrian crossing time;
- Installed new traffic control and curb regulation signage; and
- Installed new road markings.
“Today we come together to commemorate the advocacy of Ridgewood and Bushwick residents for safer streets at the Myrtle and Wyckoff intersection,” Reynoso said. “I would like to thank the Department of Transportation and Community Board 5 for their diligence in making this project a priority. As a Council member who fully supports the Vision Zero initiative and is a representative in the borough with the most dangerous corridors/intersections as designated by DOT, I stay firm in my support for all future plans and safety measures.”