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Seeing red: Pedestrians still dodging Atlantic Ave traffic to get to Pier 6

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Size apparently does not matter.

Motorists heading to the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway on-ramp on Atlantic Avenue are blatently ignoring a massive “No turn on red” sign installed earlier this summer by the city — putting families in a deadly game of “Frogger” just to get to Brooklyn Bridge Park’s popular Pier 6 playland.

Such suburban-style “right on red” turns are only allowed between 7 and 10 am on weekdays — but the city isn’t writing enough tickets to enforce the 21-hour-a-day ban, residents said.

“It’s a beautiful park, but it’s dangerous to get there,” said Brooklyn Heights mom Tracy Lantz, as she cautiously pushed her 2-month-old son past the on-ramp on Monday. “Unless people know they’re going to get caught, they’re going to keep driving the way they do.”

Judy Stanton, executive director of the Brooklyn Heights Association, slammed the new sign as a poor solution. Her group is lobbying the city to come up with a new plan.

“We’re becoming impatient that more hasn’t been done for the sake of pedestrians,” Stanton said. “The Transportation Department’s first mission is to move traffic, but it’s too scary to be allowed to continue in this fashion.”

Locals have clamored for a traffic fix to the area since the park opened with a dog run and mega-playground in the summer of 2010 and attracted hordes of families to the park.

The city took up the cause this summer, beefing up bike access on nearby Columbia Street, but Brooklyn Heights and Cobble Hill residents griped that the changes didn’t go far enough, and demanded a ban on right turns on red.

City officials said that they couldn’t do that because traffic would back up on Atlantic Avenue in the morning rush. And the city says it can’t even install a red-light camera because of a 150-camera cap instituted by the state Legislature.

A bill to raise the number of traffic cameras to 225 is stalled in the Assembly.

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Reader Feedback

TJ from BH says:
Is it so hard for NYC to put some traffic ticket cameras up all over this corner so when all these people keep making these illegal turns they get a ticket in the mail?
Oct. 5, 2011, 9:27 am
TJ from BH says:
WTF is this law????

And the city says it can’t even install a red-light camera because of a 150-camera cap instituted by the state Legislature.
Oct. 5, 2011, 9:29 am
carol from bklyn hts says:
Write to your state legislators and ask them to increase the 150 camera cap.
But don't forget the situation at Atlantic and Boerum where there was a red light camera. DOT removed it because more than half of the offenders were law enformcement personnel. This may not be the case at the BQE entrance but it points up the uselessness of a stop sign where one can turn right on red.
Oct. 5, 2011, 9:53 am
Brian Van from Kips Bay says:
Tal Barzilai, what do you think? Are pedestrians getting in the way by trying to walk to a park, and should they know their place on the road hierarchy?
Oct. 5, 2011, 10 am
ch from bh says:
The South Side of Atlantic, crossing Columbia is just as deadly.

The effing cars driven by effing idiots don't stop.

What will it take to get some safety fixes? Death?
Oct. 5, 2011, 10:03 am
jonb from south brooklyn says:
not for nothing, but what were they thinking when they build a playground at the confluence of a interstate highway and the busiest arterial in Brooklyn!!
Oct. 5, 2011, 10:09 am
AWH from BK Heights says:
It may not be ideal, but until the situation is fixed, you can access the park from Joralemon street. If it's that dangerous, it's worth a couple of extra blocks.
Oct. 5, 2011, 10:20 am
Or from Yellow Hook says:
what were they thinking when they build a playground at the confluence of a interstate highway and the busiest arterial in Brooklyn!!

jonb

Because all parks are sacred!
Oct. 5, 2011, 10:27 am
Frank from Furter says:
some of this is old habits die hard. People who drive this every day don't look at the signs. They drive from memory. A cop standing there writing tickets makes a difference. A light camera is only(mostly) for revenue...and they move the cameras around all the time. No points for the camera only a fine. The cop writing is points and the fine( a big one-more than $100, the camera is only $45 or 55) It used to be that they were only allowed 50 cameras. 150 is a big improvement.

the same problem occurred on the northbound side of Columbia too...
Oct. 5, 2011, 10:33 am
Traffic Calmer from Brooklyn says:
Thanks to all of the negative bike coverage here and elsewhere, the NYPD is far too busy writing tickets to bicyclists to bother to enforce something like this, which actually matters.
Oct. 5, 2011, 11:08 am
boof from brooklyn says:
This on-ramp to the BQE should be closed until drivers show that they can obey this and all other laws.
Oct. 5, 2011, 11:34 am
boof from brooklyn says:
jonb -- a better question is what where they thinking when they built an interstate highway in an urban neighborhood.
Oct. 5, 2011, 11:35 am
Or from Yellow Hook says:
what where they thinking when they built an interstate highway in an urban neighborhood?

They were thinking of feeding people, making trade from distant places connecting to the waterway, where goods come from awound the world and providing a roadway for transportaion, something the Romans figured out 2,000 years ago.

Or you can eat your local crop of wha, dandelions?
Oct. 5, 2011, 11:55 am
Frank from Furter says:
When the BQE was built, the Piers were active and there was in fact train tracks that were used by trains that were brought across by barge. there is no highway through much of Brooklyn that a truck can use. Atlantic Avenue is the main truck route for most of Brooklyn's truck commerce, so if you want food in the stores or anything else for that matter some way to accommodate both has to occur.
In fact the compromise for the beer trucks that warehouse on pier 7 is that they HAVE to use the highway...
Is this in the 84 or the 76?
Oct. 5, 2011, 12:05 pm
Rob from Greenpoint says:
Why don't they just build a pedestrian bridge over it.
Shovel ready. After you factor in political graft, the price tag would only be about 800 billion.
Oct. 5, 2011, 12:06 pm
Frank from Furter says:
and if they build a flyover for the people wait for the complaining about its being too hard to push a carriage up an incline...
Oct. 5, 2011, 12:07 pm
Rick from Brooklyn says:
Simple solution- put up a traffic light with a green right turn arrow, along with a big sign that says "Right turn on green arrow ONLY." When the pedestrians have the crosswalk, the green arrow goes off. That way you could even safely allow the right turn onto the onramp day and night rather than limiting it to hours that nobody observes anyway. Cars are much less likely to run a red light than to ignore posted hours.
Oct. 5, 2011, 12:09 pm
boof from brooklyn says:
Nice try, Or. But I live 5 miles from any highway, and, yet, somehow there is still food available in my neighborhood.
Oct. 5, 2011, 1:08 pm
adamben from bedstuy says:
yes, write tickets until they get the idea instead of making alternate-side parking your major revenue enhancer; might save more lives.
Oct. 5, 2011, 2:37 pm
John from Park Slope says:
To Boof, yeah and and I am sure your food gets delivered by bike or better yet a mule.
Rick has the best solution. It worked at Atlantic and Boerum Pl.
Oct. 5, 2011, 2:39 pm
Trans alt from Bike city says:
Close the damn BQE already, and turn it
Into a bike path.
Oct. 5, 2011, 4:24 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
First off, the BQE isn't going away anytime soon, so enough with that. I do agree that everyone needs to follow the rules. For the record, I have never turnned on a red light when told not to, so I am not one of them. However, I find it an irony from the bike zealouts to be all over when motorists flout the traffic laws, which I won't argue against, but will always look for ways to justify their own kind when doing it. Start practicing what you preach before telling others what to do. Everytime I hear that "Do as I say, not as I do" quote, I think of it nothing but an excuse for double standards. As for saying deliveries should stay local, how about trying to keep the rents or property taxes low instant of raising them due to gentrifications that has been forcing workers in the cities to now be commuters.
Oct. 5, 2011, 7:15 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
First of all, that couldn't have been me posting at 715pm as I was riding my bike and breaking all the traffic laws as quickly as possible, just to proove my point that the legal authorities are in cahoots with steetsblogger bike zealouts. A cop pulled me over in Bensonhurst to ask why I was hitting pedestrains, and I told him to ask the streetsbloggers for an answer. The cop was not pleased but let me go, as I had given him the secret society answer. So I have debunked an longstanding point here and I expect that I will now recieve the respect that I have long earned but never received. on a side note, my lawyer is investigating the cyberimpersonations, so I would watch out, Mike and other Mike and Other other Mike, and unMike, and maybe mike and all you steetsblooger zealouts out there. Like Israel, I can never get respect no matter how justified my point of view.
Oct. 5, 2011, 9:41 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
That comment at 9:41 could not have been me because I have never been in Bensonhurst. In fact I have never left Pleasantville. I believe that only bike zealouts should practice what they preach and that until they start preaching to the choir to obey the what they have prought then they shouldn't build any more bikes or even helmets. Car zealouts can do whatever the hell they want and moms pushing strollers with their kids in them should get out of the way. If moms care about safety so much, why do they even walk with their kids? Drivers have every right to Do as They Want, Not as the Law And Other People's Safety Requires Them to Do. Also, there is no highway through my house, but I am able to get internet reception.
Oct. 5, 2011, 10:10 pm
Dave from Park Slope says:
Damned bike lanes!
Oct. 5, 2011, 11:09 pm
Matt C from local says:
As you stand waiting for a break in the right-on-red violators, toss a handful of roofing nails on the ground and make sure the driver sees you.

After enough flat tires, the regulars will stop. You don't need to teach them all, either - stop about one in five, and the rest will stack up that one.

Roofing nails cost about $.50 a pound.
Oct. 5, 2011, 11:22 pm
Or from Yellow Hook says:
Great idea Matt, those nails will get in the tires of only the violators of your issue!

Selective vandalism! What a concept!

Watch a lot of cartoons Matt?
Oct. 7, 2011, 9:32 am
G from Cobble Hill says:
I used to enter the BQE by that onramp. When the first 'No Turn On red' sign was posted I obeyed it, nobody ever paid attention and honked their horns behind me. I would roll down my window and point at the sign.
Now I just drive south to Hicks and use that onramp.
Cars will still go around you or use the center lane to make the right.
The city should install a RED ARROW or a FLASHING RED.
Oct. 8, 2011, 2:23 pm
Kai B from Greenpoint says:
Many people apparently don't know that turning right on red is banned in NYC by default unless a sign *allows* it.

Straight from the NYS DMV Driver's Manual:

"You may not make a turn at a red light if there is a NO TURN ON RED sign posted, or another sign, signal or pavement marking prohibits the turn. Also, turning on a red light is not allowed in New York City unless a sign is posted permitting it."
Oct. 11, 2011, 5:47 pm
Daquan13 from East Boston says:
Tal Barzilai: What exactly is your problem?

Stop harassing and personally attacking all those streetsbloggers. Enough is enough! This is the third post that you've tried to humiliate streetsbloggers with.

Your just an Internet Schoolyard Bully / drama queen out for a few kicks. For the last time, please, leave me and all other streetsbloggers! You provide no constructive info here on the WTC rebuild. Why don't you try reading some of my previous posts for yourself, and see if your half-baked theory is true. I think not. You are nothing less than a cancer-causing, undebunkable puke!
Oct. 18, 2011, 12:12 pm
anon from Brooklyn Heights says:
I live right beside the BQE entrance and am not sure why it is taking the city so long to fix this problem. As G noted above, people who don't turn right on red outside of the posted hours are honked at by other drivers. So basically people are honking all day long and many drivers are illegally turning right on red. The illegal turns (plus speeding) are dangerous for pedestrians and the excessive honking is a constant problem for businesses and residents along Atlantic Avenue. I definitely support traffic calming measures along Atlantic Avenue. There are so many ways we could use street design and policies to address this problem.
Oct. 27, 2011, 10:56 am

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