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Atlantic Avenue deemed third most dangerous for pedestrians

Atlantic Avenue and Fourth Avenue have been deemed among the most dangerous for pedestrians in the tri-state region, according to a new report.

The two thoroughfares are both thru-truck routes and stretch across Brooklyn. They also stretch across the borough’s brownstone belt including such neighborhoods as Downtown Brooklyn, Boerum Hill, Park Slope and Bay Ridge.

The report, covering the years 2006-08 and released by the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, found that Atlantic Avenue tied for third place with nine pedestrian deaths, following roads in Long Island and New Jersey.

This includes two deaths in 2006, three in 2007 and four in 2008.

Of these deaths, three occurred along the more pedestrian friendly and commercial strip between the waterfront and Fifth Avenue.

The most recent of these deaths was a 58-year-old female, who was killed in February 2008 while crossing the Atlantic/Fifth avenues intersection.

Residents along this strip of Atlantic Avenue have long complained to police and the city’s Department of Transportation (DOT) about the dangers of trucks and other traffic speeding down the commercial portion.

Elizabeth Crowell, who owns a shop at 363 Atlantic Avenue, and is co-chair of a steering committee to make the portion of Atlantic Avenue into a Business Improvement District (BID), said while the strip can’t be changed from being a truck route, there are ways to make traffic slow down.

“We’re already working with the DOT on traffic calming, and a BID would give us more clout to advocate more strongly for traffic calming measures and to make it (Atlantic Avenue) safer and pedestrian friendly,” she said.

The study also found that 4th Avenue was tied for 17th place as the most dangerous for pedestrians with 6 deaths from 2006-08.

One of the deaths occurred at the intersection of 15th Street, the border Park Slope South and Sunset Park, three deaths in Sunset Park and two in Bay Ridge.

A corresponding map with the study also revealed two pedestrian deaths along Third Avenue in Cobble Hill/Gowanus area.

In issuing the report, the Tri-State Transportation Campaign applauded efforts already underway to improve safety in many of these corridors.

The city’s DOT, for example, has implemented several programs aimed at reducing pedestrian injuries and fatalities at targeted locations, including a Safe Routes to Transit and Safe Routes for Seniors program, said Kate Slevin, the Campaign’s executive director.

“While some progress has been made, these numbers and maps still paint a grim picture,” she said, adding the DOT has to step up efforts to design more balanced and walkable streets.

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