Thursday, July 20, 2006

Red Hookians to Take to the Streets to Protest Traffic


Anger about recent increases in traffic in Red Hook has been rising since the opening of the new Red Hook Cruise Terminal and the Fairway supermarket put more cars on local streets. Two weeks ago, a Sunset Park woman was hit and killed on Van Brunt Street by a driver leaving the Fairway. Residents want traffic signs and traffic lights installed, but the Department of Transportation says it won't even start a study until the fall.

B61 Productions reports that residents will be having a demonstration tonight (July 20) at 6:30 PM at the corner of Van Brunt and Wolcott Streets, where the pedestrian was struck and killed on July 6. Organizers include the Red Hook Civic Association, Red Hook Lions, Groups Against Garbage Sites and Beard St. Associates, which have been pushing for traffic signs at the corner.

The groups report that Van Brunt has the largest stretch of unprotected intersections in the city (15 in 3/4 mile). The group's release says, "The Department of Transportation continues to refuse to install traffic lights or 4-way stop signs or even paint the cross walks across Van Brunt." While local activists have been divided over supporting or opposing new projects like the massive Ikea waterfront development, B61 Productions suggests that "the traffic issue has the potential to galvanize neighborhood organizations the way garbage transfer sites did six years ago." (Neighborhood groups fiercely fought back plans that would have, literally, made Red Hook one of New York City's main trash receptacles.)

Last year, we witnessed Boro Prez Marty Markowitz and DOT officials show up at the intersection of Ninth Street and Eighth Avenue in Park Slope two days after Park Slope residents started signing a petition outside of Dizzy's about dangerous conditions at the intersection. The corner still stinks, but new signs went up shortly thereafter.

So, answer us this: Why do Red Hook residents have to demonstrate and wait until fall for a traffic study before someone paints some crosswalks and puts up Stop signs as a preliminary measure? Please tell us it doesn't have something to do with power and money.


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