By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The countdown is on!
When residents of the 44th Council District (Borough Park-Midwood-Bensonhurst) voted several months ago on how $1 million in city funds should be spent in their community under the participatory budgeting process, they indicated that they wanted the city to install more countdown clocks at intersections to help pedestrians stay safe while crossing the street.
Councilman David Greenfield, who represents the district and who guided residents through the participatory budgeting process, is now inviting constituents to suggest locations where the countdown signals should be installed.
“Now that the public has voted to install more countdown clocks, I want to hear from the residents who walk around our neighborhoods and know exactly which streets and intersections are most in need of safety upgrades,” Greenfield said.
“The whole idea of participatory budgeting is to let residents make decisions about what their community most needs. That’s why I am inviting everyone to contact me with the locations they would like to see these important and life-saving pedestrian countdown signals installed,” the councilman said.
The pedestrian signals feature an LED countdown of the number of seconds a pedestrian has to get across the street before the signal turns red.
Here’s how to let Greenfield know where you think a countdown clock should go: contact his office by phone at 718-853-2704, by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter at @NYCGreenfield.
Marnee Elias-Pavia, the district manager of Community Board 11 in Bensonhurst, said the countdown signals are vitally important to public safety. “They are very important, particularly to our older residents. It tells you exactly how much time you have to get across the street,” she told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.
“When you have just the hand signal and it starts to flash, you have no idea how much time you have left before the signal turns red,” Elias-Pavia said.
The city’s Department of Transportation has already installed several countdown clocks at Greenfield’s request at several intersections in the past, including Ocean Parkway and Fort Hamilton Parkway.
Greenfield said that when he took office in 2010, he immediately began working with the DOT on a plan to install pedestrian countdown signals at some of the district’s most dangerous and accident-prone intersections, including all of the major Ocean Parkway crossings.
Based on the popularity of the countdown clocks that were installed along Ocean Parkway and elsewhere several years ago, residents voted in the spring during participatory budgeting to allocate funding for approximately 10 more signals each in Borough Park, Midwood and Bensonhurst.
Greenfield has set aside $606,000 in the city budget to fund the new countdown clocks.
“While we have made great progress over the past few years to improve the safety of our neighborhood streets, recent tragedies are a reminder that much work remains. We all play a part in helping to make our roads safer, so I urge the public to contact me with their suggested locations for these countdown signals,” Greenfield said.