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‘Our neighborhood is not a highway’: Community fights DOT for safety island on deadly intersection in Brooklyn

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KENSINGTON, BROOKLYN (PIX11) – “Our neighborhood is not a highway.”

That is the rally cry of hundreds of Brooklyn residents, some of whom will band together Thursday morning to turn in a stack of petitions to Governor Cuomo’s office in Manhattan.

Their request, headed by NYC Councilman Brad Lander, is to urge the head of the NYS Department of Transportation to build a pedestrian safety island in the middle of the 9 lane highway of Ocean Parkway where it intersects Church Avenue in the residential area of Kensington.

This call for action comes two months after resident 73-year-old Patricia Ngozi Agbim lost her life while walking across what residents call the deadliest intersection in Brooklyn.

patricia

Patricia Ngozi Agbim was hit and killed by a tractor trailer June 24th while crossing the intersection of Ocean Parkway and Church Avenue.

Police say it was around 9:30 a.m. on June 24th, when a semi-truck hit and killed Agbim as she tried to cross nine lanes of traffic.

According to statistics, six pedestrians were killed on the Parkway between 2009 and 2011.

Agbim’s family called her death a “rallying point for change.”

“People have been pushing for this for years,” said NYC Councilman Brad Lander, adding, “We secured funding to build the pedestrian safety island last year and then it got tied up in bureaucratic fog. We just can’t wait anymore and we have to push for this now.”

Last year, even though the NYC DOT backed the idea, the proposal was rejected and then the DOT floated the idea of actually eliminating the crosswalk altogether, said Lander.

With the help of City Councilman Brad Lander, the community rallied together to create change, by way of a petition.

It urges the head of the NYS Department of Transportation to make the intersection safer by “adding a pedestrian safety island and repairing the damaged sidewalks and crosswalks (that) will help keep (our) neighbors safe.”

Kensington resident Mamnun Haq says the median for pedestrians is vital, adding, “That way people crossing will have a safe place to stand in case they can’t get across all nine lanes at once.  Or if there’s a lot of traffic, they can wait for people making the turns on to the Expressway, instead of feeling forced to cross which is very risky for them.”

Kensington residents, headed by Councilman Lander will rally in front of the governor’s office at 11a.m.