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DOT To Purposely Create Congestion In Parts Of Brooklyn To Protect Pedestrians

Officials Want To Stop Hicks Street 'Drag Strip' So Lanes Will Be Reduced
Hicks Street

Hicks Street in Brooklyn. (Photo: CBS 2)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There’s a residential street in Brooklyn that turns into a highway at rush hour and residents say it’s just too dangerous. But can a plan to replace lanes with permanent parking solve the problem or will it cause traffic tie-ups?

“This is not a street any longer. It’s a highway,” Joe Mack of Red Hook told CBS 2’s Vanessa Murdock on Wednesday.

“People think it’s a drag strip here,” added Jason Lux of Cobble Hill.

The so-called drag strip is Hicks Street. It parallels the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. Some use it as an alternate and residents say the high-speed traffic makes the road dangerous for all on foot.

“With this street you really have to look, and I put my kid in a car seat on this street,” Lux said.

“I’ve seen so many accidents here,” added Anthony Buzzeta of Cobble Hill.

The wide roadway contributes to speeding and residents want drivers to hit the brakes, so signs will be coming down. Parking won’t be restricted during the morning rush to help narrow the roadway.

The Department of Transportation plans to create more than 100 new permanent parking places that would cut commuter traffic down from three lanes to two.

“The key to safety here is to slow down the movement of vehicles and shorten the crossings for pedestrians. This plan accomplishes both,” said Craig Hammerman of Community Board 6.

“I think that would be kind of crazy. You always need the flow of traffic,” added Patrick Leone of Long Island City.

“I don’t know why they’re doing it. I guess it would really back-up a lot of traffic,” said Shirley Ranz of Sheepshead Bay.

“You slow things down, you choke things down,” Mack said.

Those who live and walk along Hicks Street told CBS 2’s Murdock they disagree.

“I think it is a great idea — anything to slow down traffic,” said Libby Mayward of Carroll Gardens.

“People fly down this street. They go at amazing speeds. Little kids around, people sticking their head out to try and cross, so if it slows down traffic that would be nice,” Colin Otis of Cobble Hill said.

In addition, they said the extra parking won’t hurt.

“Seven in the morning to move my car is a little early,” Lux said.

The Department of Transportation told CBS 2 safety is its top priority and this plan responds to community requests to curb speeding. It allows for two moving lanes at all times.

New parking spaces will line Hicks Street from roughly Hamilton Avenue to Amity Street. But residents said that doesn’t mean the speeding will stop.

“No, it’s New York City,” Lux said.

However, he said he hopes so for safety’s sake.

Community Board 6 told CBS 2 the transition from three lanes to two should begin before the end of the year.

Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below …