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Controversy Brews Over City's Push To Make Main Brooklyn Avenues One-Way

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Two main avenues in Brooklyn may soon get a makeover as the city pushes to convert them to one-way traffic. It's an idea that's already stirring up controversy. NY1 Borough reporter Jeanine Ramirez filed the following report from Park Slope.

Seventh Avenue is a bustling commercial strip in Park Slope with bus routes, schools and a hospital. There are double parked cars and traffic gets backed up.

Now to help ease congestion, the city transportation department wants to make Seventh Avenue one way and do the same to Sixth Avenue. It's a plan that's drawing mixed reaction from residents.

"It's an unpopular idea because it's completely unsafe,” said one area resident. “It's going to turn Park Slope, which is a residential community, into one that's full of traffic."

"I think it'll ease the flow and I think it'll be safer for pedestrians. I think it's a great idea," countered another.

The plan would make Seventh Avenue one way southbound between Flatbush and Prospect Avenues and Sixth Avenue one-way northbound between Atlantic Avenue and 23rd Street.

"I'm very worried because you know what this really is? This is Atlantic Yards coming home to roost in the neighborhood,” said City Councilman David Yassky.

The Atlantic Yards project would sit at the border of Park Slope. The mega complex includes a new basketball arena for the Nets as well as more than a dozen new residential and office buildings.

Residents in surrounding neighborhoods fear a traffic nightmare. DOT says the traffic changes would benefit Park Slope by simplifying vehicle turns, adjusting traffic signals and narrowing travel lanes. But pedestrians point to Eighth Avenue, which is one-way and while traffic flows well, they say it's not easy to cross.

"When you're not expecting it, the cars shoot through particularly because it is one-way,” said one area resident. “So that would be my concern."

"They try to go fast with a disregard for pedestrians and for strollers and it could be very dangerous, especially Seventh Avenue," added another.

Meanwhile, drivers have mixed reaction about the changes.

"I think it would be good. This way we have a free flow of traffic. I think it's good,” said one driver.

"As a driver, I prefer to be able to turn left and right at both avenues. So I think it'll be a bad idea," countered another.

DOT says if the community doesn't support the changes, they won't happen.

The proposed changes are on the agenda for the next Community Board 6 Transportation Committee hearing scheduled for March 15th.

— Jeanine Ramirez
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