Mom always told you to look both ways and wait for the light before you cross the street, but at one crazy Bay Ridge intersection, residents have learned that it’s actually safer to cross when the sign tells them to stop.
The corner, an overpass above the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway at 86th Street and Dahlgren Place, is not a typical intersection, of course, but an object lesson in what happens when cars are served before pedestrians.
When the traffic light on 86th Street turns green, pedestrians on the intersection’s north side get a “Walk” sign — and the right of way. But because 86th is a two-way street, drivers making a left onto Dahlgren Place — which is a BQE entrance ramp — peel out at the first break in oncoming traffic, honking pedestrians out of their way.
So most pedestrians don’t cross until the light changes, exposing them to drag racers on Dahlgren, who also have the BQE in their sights.
“I’m not arguing with a truck,” said pedestrian Ralph Marino, a retired mailman who knows the area’s traffic patterns.
An elderly woman who lives one street away explained the crosswalk’s backward logic. “You never go when it says ‘walk,’ ” she said as a car zoomed by. “At rush hour, forget it.”
She looked up Dahlgren Place and waited until the light turned red and the “Don’t Walk” sign told her to stop red-handed.
“Now I can go,” she said, starting slowly across.
Community Board 10 is requesting a study to address the problem, according to District Manager Josephine Beckmann.
“It’s an absolutely bizarre situation,” she said.
Beckmann and others think the city might have to install a left-turn signal at the light and add signs to remind drivers that it is state law to yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk.
But maybe another sign is needed for the pedestrians themselves:
“Only go when the hand says no.”
©2006 Community News Group
By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:
You agree that you, and not BrooklynPaper.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to BrooklynPaper.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.