Prospect Heights

[Press Release] Brooklyn neighborhood daylighting assessment reveals significant street safety shortfalls

November 13, 2023

An examination of Prospect Heights intersections by PHNDC shows no intersections comply with state safety laws

BROOKLYN — There is not a single intersection in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn that is compliant with state daylighting laws, a new assessment of intersections by the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council (PHNDC) has found. Daylighting, or banning parking within 20 feet of crosswalks, is a safety measure that increases visibility of pedestrians as they cross the street. Using volunteers to survey every street corner in Prospect Heights, the area enclosed by Eastern Parkway, Flatbush Avenue, Atlantic Avenue and Washington Avenue, the organization was able to determine there is not a single intersection with complete daylighting. PHNDC was compelled to complete this assessment following the deaths of Kamari Hughes and Yvonne Sandiford due to preventable traffic violence. Responding to Hughes’ death on October 26, 2023, local Council member Crystal Hudson called for daylighting at all intersections within a half-mile of a school — which would include all 54 intersections in Prospect Heights.

“The reality that none of the intersections in Prospect Heights meets State standards has put things in perspective for us — our neighborhood streets really are unsafe,” said Gib Veconi, chair of the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council. “The strict criteria Council member Hudson outlined in her call for daylighting are clearly warranted. We hope she will take advantage of existing opportunities to make progress on street safety, and calling on City Hall to complete the stalled Underhill Avenue project in her district would be a practical first step.”

PHNDC has been pushing for the completion of existing street safety projects in Prospect Heights since the redesign of Underhill Avenue — a street with a public lower school and playground for children — was inexplicably halted by City Hall late this summer. The redesign, which will transform Underhill Avenue into a bike boulevard, includes many pedestrian safety features such as daylighting and shortened crossings, yet has been sitting unfinished for over two months. Council member Hudson has not publicly voiced her support for completing the project, despite it being an excellent opportunity to make progress towards her stated daylighting goals. Prospect Heights is also awaiting the completion of a street improvement project that will add daylighting to intersections on Vanderbilt Avenue, which was originally scheduled for 2023. Vanderbilt Avenue ranked among the top 10% of Brooklyn streets for persons killed or severely injured from 2016 to 2020. 

“The number of Prospect Heights children under 15 increased by 32% between 2010 and 2021, and residents over 60 increased by 83%. We hope it won’t take another tragedy for the Mayor to take street safety seriously and complete the projects DOT had slated for this year,” added Veconi.

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