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Atlantic Avenue

Concerned residents and community organizations rallied together at the intersection of Atlantic Avenue and Bond Street in Brooklyn to raise awareness about recent traffic-related accidents and fatalities in the area. Many that participated live in Brooklyn's Boerum Hill neighborhood, and are lobbying the Department of Transportation for more sensible and safe street design. They are also calling for the NYPD to be more vigilant in enforcing speeding laws, urging their increased awareness as plans for the Atlantic Yards development move forward.

Special thanks to Sandy Balboza of The Atlantic Avenue Betterment Association and Matt Rogers of The Boerum Hill Association.

[intro music]

Speaker: [00:14] Four to seven has nothing to do with the small business. All the city is concerned with is moving the traffic to Long Island.

Speaker: [00:20] One of the big problems that we face, both as businesses and as safety issues where people trying to cross the street, is the four to seven traffic restriction that we’ve had for many years. It’s customers can’t park, they can’t come after work, there’s almost no parking and that has caused part of this really, really dangerous speeding lane down Atlantic Avenue.

Speaker: [00:43] It definitely affects business and I would love to see it changed.


Sandy Balboza: [00:52] I’m standing in front of one of the new muni-meters installed recently and it’s after four o’clock. We have a parking ban that does not allow parking between four to seven, but the muni-meter will take my money and give me a receipt as if I can park here. So I think that that’s a problem for the merchants and the customers.

Yvonne Chu: [01:19] I have had a lot of problems. I… the worst case was when I had an out of town customer towed. I’ve also had a handicapped customer towed, which caused a very bad situation. And I’ve had customers want to reschedule fittings or schedule fittings and appointments around the four to seven parking, and also rush out of here trying to move their car before four o’clock.

Sherri Hellman: [01:45] For me the parking situation is a little hectic because they don’t allow parking on my side of the street from four to seven. And most of my students that come here have parents that pick them up and they usually come between the hours of four and seven because this is an after school programme. And for me I also don’t want to let the kids out without seeing who’s picking them up. So every time a child leaves and I have I would say over 150 to 200 students, I have to walk outside to make sure that their parents are here. So it’s really a hassle for me. And I would love it if we could park between the hours of four and seven.

Benjamin Tretout: [02:24] Yes, it definitely a factor. Not only the business but also the customer and all the community and the neighbourhood. First of all I thinks it happened one time my customer went to the restaurant and unfortunately didn’t read the… not even read the… it’s very difficult sign and they had been at the restaurant eating and their car being towed. Secondly, I think we have a lot of senior people and family, big family with kids. During the week it’s a Brooklyn neighbourhood, lot of big houses for family, so they come with the children and they would love to come earlier, around five o’clock. And it’s important because usually they move with their car, you know, two/three children, they move their car from Brooklyn Heights or from Park Slope. So they come here, it’s a problem to park, they cannot find anything around here because of this four and seven thing.

Speaker: [03:26] We’re having problems as far as people, or our customers’ cars being towed from across the street between four and seven. And we would like to see if something could be done from the city to prevent customers from being… from taking their cars away. We have about an average of one to two customers a week that have their cars towed out and they get pretty upset and it ends up affecting the business. It’s really a problem that needs to be addressed. And we wish that we could get together and hopefully find a good solution to this.

David Goldstein: [04:10] They don’t care about the small businesses here. They don’t care if we’re gone tomorrow. They… all they want to do is generate income. There’s always somebody parked illegally along the curb, whether it’s a truck trying to make a living making a delivery, making a pick-up. It kills business for the little guy in that people don’t know that you can’t park there from four to seven, so they get towed away and then they’re never coming back here to do business.

[traffic noise]

Benjamin Tretout: [04:53] It’s a problem for the community. It’s also I think brings not more traffic but bring people to speed, to speed more on the Avenue. So what you have, that we seen a lot of more accident, accident been going up. I mean I’ve seen… since I’ve been in this neighbourhood, you know, having my business here and it just, you know, it push people to maybe speed a little more.

Speaker: [05:19] It makes the traffic go very, very far, very fast and doesn’t allow the people to like feel safe walking around the sidewalk and crossing the street. It makes the cars really navigate 40 to 50 miles an hour in an area that should be maybe 20 to 30 at the most. So it’s really a dangerous situation as well.

David Goldstein: [05:43] Traffic always gets forced into two lanes anyways cos there’s always a vehicle parked illegally on one of the blocks. And what happens is the cars start swinging into the curb and swinging out. There’s accidents all the time. Near misses. Cars bounce onto the curb. It’s impossible. All this is is a highway that’s not called a highway.


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