While we are concerned with how city officials went about making the Ocean Park Boulevard traffic calming project permanent, essentially sending out no notice of the change to residents and businesses in the area, we are glad that they decided to stick with the current configuration, which eliminated two traffic lanes going east and west, added left turn lanes, bike lanes and some more parking.
The impact has been fewer traffic accidents and slower speeds. The pilot project, which began in 2008 following a series of accidents involving pedestrians at the intersections of 16th and 18th streets near John Adams Middle School, was intended to do just that — reduce accidents and make it safer for pedestrians and bikers.
With that came longer travel times as traffic congestion increased during the weekday commute. This has led to some angry e-mails and letters from commuters as well as residents living in Sunset Park who claim more traffic has been diverted to side streets as frustrated drivers try to make their way home by avoiding Ocean Park Boulevard as much as possible.
We understand the frustration, which no doubt grew with the lack of notification from City Hall about making the pilot permanent, however, when comparing enhanced safety and bike lanes to faster travel times for cars, the Daily Press believes City Hall made the right decision. Yes, it will take longer to travel east and west on Ocean Park Boulevard if you are in a car, but sitting in your car listening to KCRW is better than sitting in a meat wagon, the victim of an impatient, inattentive driver. Instead of driving, take alternative forms of transit and save money, stress and wear and tear on your vehicle. Or you could hit the gym, take a walk along the beach or run in Palisades Park after work and avoid rush hour. That’s what we do.