Nearly six months after Dorothy Bruns blew a red light in Park Slope, killing two children and an unborn baby, the city's promised safety improvements at the notoriously dangerous 9th Street intersection are beginning to materialize.
The new redesign—the result of fierce advocacy from community members and transit activists—will bring nearly a mile of protected bike lanes to both sides of 9th Street between Prospect Park West and Third Avenue.
Listen to WNYC's Stephen Nessen's report on the redesign:
Other enhancements include shorter crossings, slow-turn treatments at intersections, reduced double parking, and narrower lanes meant to curb speeding. The new bike lanes are four-feet wide, and protected by three-foot buffers behind eight-foot parking lanes. If early reviews are any indication, they are glorious:
— Eric McClure (@EricMcClureBK) August 22, 2018
"To say the March crash in Park Slope hit close to home would be an understatement," said Mayor Bill de Blasio, ahead of a tour of the area with local officials on Thursday. "We cannot undo that terrible afternoon five months ago, but these safety improvements will help prevent future tragic crashes on this busy street."
On March 5th, two families—Lauren Lew, 34, and her 20-month-old son Joshua, and Ruthie Ann Miles, 34, and her 4-year-old daughter Abigail Blumenstein—were walking on 9th Street near 5th Avenue when investigators say Bruns ran through the red light on 9th Street. Both children were killed. Lew was hurt badly and Miles, a Tony Award-winning actress, was also seriously injured. Miles was also 7 months pregnant at the time of the crash, and later lost her baby.
The area has long been one of the borough's most dangerous corridors, with 12 traffic deaths occurring along the stretch between 2012 and 2016. Despite this, the intersection had not been considered for any improvements under the mayor's Vision Zero initiative prior to the fatal crash.
"These changes will save lives on this corridor, because good street design is always on duty," said Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives. "As we work toward eliminating deaths and serious injuries on our streets, designs like these ought to be the rule, not the exception."
The redesign is expected to be completed some time next month.