Rally Protests DOT Plans for Ocean Parkway

FLATBUSH -

A large crowd gathered at the corner of Ocean Parkway near Avenue J on Sunday morning to protest proposed changes to traffic patterns on the heavily traveled thoroughfare. The rally was organized by Assemblyman Dov Hikind and joined by several elected officials who condemned the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) plan to prohibit turns at several major intersections.

“It’s a bizarre plan that will only make things more dangerous,” Mr. Hikind told Hamodia following the rally. “They’re essentially sending traffic into the community, it will not only be a nightmare for traffic, but to send more and more cars onto streets where so many people live is a real risk.”

The protest was joined by Public Advocate Letitia “Tish” James, City Comptroller Scott Stringer and Brooklyn councilmen Mark Treyger and Chaim Deutch.

According to DOT plans, vehicles will not be allowed to make right turns from Ocean Parkway to Avenues J or P as well as onto Kings Highway and several other intersections. Cars that need to turn will be redirected onto the service road instead of turning from middle lanes, a move the State claims will make the streets safer for the heavy pedestrian traffic in the area.

The changes are part of a $15 million plan aimed at improving pedestrian and bicycle safety on Ocean Parkway. In 2015, the DOT made a PowerPoint presentation to local community boards, but local officials claim that the right-turn ban was not shown at any of the meetings.

“When the DOT informed us that they wanted to make improvements to safety on Ocean Parkway, we were delighted. Unfortunately, the DOT did not inform us of any plans,” said Councilman David Greenfield. “If the DOT had consulted the community on these changes, they would have learned that these are some of the busiest intersections on Ocean Parkway, and that they consistently have some of the worst traffic congestion.”

“It’s evident that residents in my district are confused and angry about a decision by the Department of Transportation to prohibit right turns on certain parts of Ocean Parkway,” said state Sen. Simcha Felder. He joined other local elected officials in asking the DOT to halt plans until the community can study the information that led to the department’s decision before changes are put in place.