Part of Wyckoff Avenue in Ridgewood may eventually be closed and transformed into the neighborhood’s newest pedestrian plaza.
In an attempt to curb dangerous driver and pedestrian activity, the Department of Transportation (DOT) has come up with a bold plan to permanently close the one-block segment of Wyckoff Avenue between Gates and Myrtle avenues for the plaza.
DOT officials presented the idea to the Community Board 5 (CB 5) Transportation and Public Transit committees during their combined monthly meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 23.
“There are some serious safety needs at Myrtle/Wyckoff and Palmetto Street,” said Nicole Garcia, DOT’s Queens Borough Commissioner. “It is a Vision Zero priority intersection and we’ve made several safety iterations and we think this time, maybe we have one of the most robust safety improvements that we can make. It actually reduces the turning [options] from  to five. So we really think we can address the critical safety needs here.”
This proposed plaza would reduce confusion of drivers and pedestrians by limiting the number of maneuvers vehicles can make and allowing safe access to the L/M train station and bus terminals.
In 2014, DOT banned five of the 26 vehicle movements at the intersection. The plaza proposal would drop that number down to seven possible movements, making it safer for both drivers and pedestrians.
“We don’t think drivers are going into that intersection with the intention of making the wrong turns and putting people’s lives at risk,” Garcia said. “We want to clarify those traffic movements, and we think that we will get the biggest bang for the buck by knocking out this area and reducing the turning possibilities.”
DOT is aiming to conduct a workshop on this project next month where they will get feedback from the communities involved. That will be followed by an official presentation to the community boards — CB 5 and Brooklyn Community Board 4 — for a recommendation. The hope is to have this plaza installed by the end of the summer.
The committees had little opposition to the plan at this point, but agreed to wait until hearing feedback during the community workshops and an official proposal from DOT.
Due to the location of the bus terminal, DOT has to work with the MTA on how the bus routes would be affected by this plaza.
The implementation of this pedestrian plaza would lead to other traffic-related changes including converting Wyckoff Avenue into a one-way southbound between Myrtle and Putnam avenues and converting Wyckoff Avenue into a one-way street north of Gates Avenue.