Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Another Accident On Adams Street, Downtown Brooklyn

Another accident recently happened on Adams Street in Downtown Brooklyn. This time no one was killed, though one person was injured.

The Brooklyn Eagle reports that a car and a bus smashed into each other at the corner of Adams and Fulton around 8 p.m. Monday night, knocking a passenger inside the car unconscious.

No word yet on the state of the passenger.

According to CrashStat, there were 49+ crashes at this intersection between 1995 - 2005, and dozens at adjoining intersections.

This is one block north of where little Alexander Toulouse was run down by a mail truck in September, at Adams and Livingston. (Motor vehicles struck 39 people -- 28 pedestrians and 11 bicyclists -- at that particular intersection from 1995 to 2005.)

And it's a half block south of where a Brooklyn Heights' woman was killed last April, at Adams near the Marriott. This is less than a block away from where Judge Bookson was struck and killed, and two blocks away from another deadly intersection, Adams and Tillary Streets. Teacher Ron Mortensen was killed at this intersection in April 2007.

The Dept. of Transportation has temporarily changed the traffic patterns at the intersection of Adams and Tillary Streets, in an attempt to make this particular intersection safer.

Every time parents hear that another accident took place on Adams Street, they speed dial their kids. Many schools -- including the Urban Assembly School for Law and Justice high school, the Urban Assembly Institute of Math and Science, Brooklyn Friends School, Brooklyn Law School, City Tech and Polytechnic University -- lie within a three-block radius. St. Joseph High School is just down Willoughby Street. Pacific High School is on Schermerhorn Street at Adams. Hundreds, if not thousands of children have to cross Adams Street every day to get to class.

In 2006 there was a drive to create an Adams Street/ Fulton Street overhead pedestrian overpass. At that time a local mom was quoted as saying, “An upper-schooler was hit in September, 2005; two middle-schoolers were hit in April 2005 and January 2006; and [our school's] head of Security was hit on May 1."

The overpass idea never got anywhere.


Speed bumps?


UPDATE: The GreenBeatBrooklyn blog reports that 39 percent of drivers in NYC have been clocked as speeding -- and Brooklyn has the worst record.

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.


epc said...

I drive that stretch maybe 2-3 times a week and find the signage and lane layout from Atlantic to Tillary to be part of the problem.

At Atlantic DOT has done some work to control flow into Adams northbound, but once you're on Adams it's 3 lanes. Or is it 4? Maybe it's 5?

Some traffic drifts off to the left on realization that the last left turn to get into Brooklyn Heights is now at Joralemon and not Tillary. Other traffic darts off to the right to get to Schermerhorn (I think).

Net: there's a lot of cross traffic, and for whatever reason people drive like their life is dependent on making that light.

When you get to Fulton you've got several things going on: are you turning into Brooklyn Heights? If so you're screwed unless you managed to get over to Joralemon. Or are you trying to get to the BQE? You have to get over into the Right hand lane and get into the local lane right past Fulton (a full, what, two blocks before Tillary).

Throw in the buses which are crossing over from Southbound Adams to make an Eastbound turn onto Fulton.

And for good measure throw in all of the pedestrians, most of whom wait for the light, but some walk right into traffic.

None of this is an excuse to hit anyone at all, but just to say: from a driver's perspective, even someone who's lived here nearly ten years, it's a really confusing stretch of road. It's very distracting.

I would try to constrict the road in the weird block or two from Atlantic to Livingston where it seems like it was designed for local lanes or a wide boulevard strip. Get it down to a hard three lanes.

I'd redo the Fulton/Joralemon/Adams intersection to slow it down. It has a subtle curve leading into it from the south.

I'd add one more option to get to Tillary from northbound Adams, or make the right hand lane of Adams a feeder into the local lane (and can we PLEASE tow every stinking car which is parked on the local lanes on Adams, either in the bike lanes or in front of the "no standing" signs).

I hated the no left turn idea at Tillary & Adams when it was first proposed but I think it works. The only caveat is that I've now witnessed several cyclists who ride down the left hand lane (again, Adams Northbound) and then end up in the middle of the intersection. In theory they should get to cross over to the bridge walkway but the cops don't appear to allow them to do that, so then they end up having to weave through traffic.

From the other direction, the bridge to Atlantic, I think the problem is speed and distractions. It's not as confusing as the northbound direction, but there are just as many distractions (if you're in the inner lanes, when does that traffic on the right merge in? and...WHAT IS THAT BUS DOING?). I'd try to eliminate the bus crossover, but have no idea how you'd do that, as the only thing I could think of would be for the buses to travel further on Cadman/Court and make the left turn onto Joralemon. And all that does is minimize one problem while likely creating another.
Maybe find a way to slow people down coming off the Bridge. If you catch greens you can keep up a pretty good clip coming off the bridge, which would be fine if you really were on a limited-access roadway, but you're driving into downtown Brooklyn. Maybe that's part of the problem: the cues to a driver coming off the Bridge is that you're on a "faster" (30mph) limited access roadway and not local streets.

Again: I'm not trying to excuse any the accidents. 90% of the time I'm one of the pedestrians about to get hit. But when I drive I find that entire stretch, either direction, to be confusing and distracting. Very "busy". One can argue that drivers need to deal with it, but I think the accidents show that drivers aren't dealing with it (I'd be curious to find out how many of the drivers who hit pedestrians had driven that stretch before).

Was Adams/Brooklyn Bridge Blvd ever intended to go further? Like barrel through Boerum Hill/Carrol Gardens to the BQE?

bj said...

EPC, great comment. I agree about redoing that Fulton/ Joralemon/ Adams intersection to slow it down. I was by there this morning and it was like a race track, while kids were crossing.

I saw a problem with the crossing light timing as well: when crossing Adams St. (at Fulton) from the Brooklyn Heights side, you get a light that lets you walk halfway across Adams. Then you are supposed to stop and wait on the center median till the second half of Adams Street gets a walk light. But many people don't realize they have to crowd onto the central median and wait for the second phase of walk light to start. They just keep crossing -- then traffic comes racing towards them, horns blaring.

And yes, those buses turning at that intersection are scary!

Janet said...

Drivers approaching the bridge behave as if they're already on a bridge approach, and not on a city street. The crosswalk at Johnson and Adams--where students cross to get to the school--is often obstructed by cars.
It's often not clear what the purpose of the traffic agents at Adams and Tillary are (usually at least one is just standing on the sidewalk) so I would station one a block over, at Johnson.
Pedestrians, for their part, often show ridiculously poor judgment in crossing against the light at these intersections, and I'm surprised there aren't more collisions than there are.