Last night, Brooklynites filled Borough Hall, spilling into an overflow room for a Vision Zero town hall meeting with elected officials and city agency staffers. Among those on hand were Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, NYPD Chief of Transportation Thomas Chan, Public Advocate Letitia James, and Borough President Eric Adams. Streetsblog wasn’t able to make it to the forum, but here’s a snapshot of what unfolded and how elected officials reacted, based on reports from attendees and the Twitterverse.
Like most Vision Zero town halls, the event did not feature groundbreaking policy announcements, but instead helped solidify the city’s commitment to addressing traffic violence, as electeds heard from dozens of Brooklynites concerned about dangerous streets.
Days after DOT identified Atlantic Avenue as one of its Vision Zero priorities, Brooklynites testified last night about other streets they want the city to redesign. Public Advocate Letitia James joined the public in listing streets she wanted prioritized for safety fixes, including Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues, Eastern Parkway and Empire Boulevard, where 5-year-old Roshard Charles was killed by a hit-and-run driver last month.
Jean Ryan of Disabled in Action of Metropolitan New York estimated that about 50 people spoke. “It was mostly dealing with specific problems or intersections,” she said. Much of the testimony came from Brooklynites who have either been injured by drivers or lost family members to traffic violence, including Roshard Charles’ mother, Rochelle.
“Albany does not live on Albany Avenue in Brooklyn, while children are dying,” Borough President Eric Adams said, urging the state to hand over control of speed limits and automated enforcement to the city.
After the event, Council Member David Greenfield tweeted that his favorite idea of the night was a zero-tolerance crackdown by NYPD on drivers who park on sidewalks. “We have to admit that the bulk of the problems come from the drivers,” he said.
“It’s not an ‘accident waiting to happen.’ It’s a ‘preventable crash waiting to happen.’ Let’s prevent it,” Council Member Brad Lander tweeted after hearing testimony last night.