In a telephone interview on Friday, Linda DeRosa, Vice President of the Willowtown Association, clarified her block association’s position regarding traffic congestion that has bedeviled the community located on the cusp of Brooklyn Bridge Park. As was reported last week by News 12 Brooklyn, Willowtown residents have been alarmed by a drastic increase in traffic on Joralemon Street as a result of drivers taking advantage of the only direct route in Brooklyn Heights to BBP.
“We are working with DOT to evaluate safety issues due to the ever increasing volume of cars, pedestrians, bicyclists and families with strollers using Joralemon Street as an access to BBP,” said the long-time Brooklyn Heights resident about increased traffic on the quaint, one-way cobblestone street that intersects with Furman Street underneath the Brooklyn Queens Expressway.
“As the park is now developed, here we are in 2014 it’s clear that a lot of the [BBP] venues are large scale destinations especially for visitors to the south end of the project,” said DeRosa. “They [the DOT] anticipated the problem because they suggest [in a 2005 Environmental Impact Study] that at a given time the issue becomes necessary that… Joralemon Street is to be closed to vehicular traffic.”
Saying that both Willowtown and the Brooklyn Heights Association are in contact with the DOT, Ms. DeRosa suggested there’s likely to be a formal traffic study “by the end of the summer.”
“We’re not trying to promote anything that wasn’t expected to happen,” explained DeRosa. “One of the things the DOT said was to let the community know that there would be changes made on [Joralemon]. This is the reason that we did a couple of press situations, to get the word out.”
DeRosa also made reference to “pedestrianization”—linking the Association’s concerns in their community with the Vision Zero initiative for safer streets being promoted by Mayor Bill deBlasio and the NYPD.
“There’s no signage now, there’s no traffic pattern down there [at Furman and Joralemon],” said DeRosa. “It’s a bigger issue that the DOT is studying and we hope the decision will be to close the end of the street.”
PHOTO: Cars, bikes and pedestrians all competing for space on Joralemon Street in Willowtown