City: Time to 86 left turns at Fourth Avenue

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A city plan to fix an accident-prone intersection on 86th Street by banning all left turns onto Fourth Avenue will cause gridlock further down the road, say pols and residents who are demanding the city take its proposal back to the drawing board.

The plan submitted by the Department of Transportation to Community Board 10 last week would also turn five blocks of 86th Street from Shore Road to Fourth Avenue, which is now four lanes, into a two-lane road, and install planters at the dangerous Fourth Avenue intersection — where there were 91 accidents between 2005 and 2009.

But CB10 members said banning traffic from turning left there would be a mistake since left-hand turns are already banned at Fifth Avenue, leaving Fort Hamilton Parkway, which is two blocks away, as the only place within the commercial corridor where the turns will be allowed.

“It will be gridlock,” said CB10 District Manager Josephine Beckman.

The move is part of a city-wide traffic calming initiative in which Mayor Bloomberg and his transportation commissioner, Janette Sadik-Khan, have installed bike lanes, center-lane planters, bollards, street corner “neckdowns,” and other traffic-calming devices throughout Brooklyn, angering many locals, who, on some occasions, have protested so loudly the city has reversed engines.

For instance, the city installed traffic calming islands on Fort Hamilton Parkway near Maimonides Medical Center, but tore them out six months later after locals complained the medians would slow down emergency vehicles.

Because of that waste of money — along with the fact that Borough President Markowitz has a plan to make the entirety of Fourth Avenue more pedestrian-friendly — some pols are balking at the 86th Street plan.

“I’m not prepared to endorse that idea knowing the disaster that they created by Maimonides,” said Councilman Vince Gentile (D–Bay Ridge), who said he would like the city to wait until borough officials complete the massive redesign of Fourth Avenue.

The cost of the smaller project is not yet known, but construction could begin sometime next year after the design is finalized, said Nicole Garcia of the Department of Transportation.

Some merchants and board members backed the plan, saying it was about time the city did something about the dangerous intersection.

“We’ve had accidents there for 40 years,” said Patrick Condren, executive director of the 86th Street Business Improvement District.

The intersection is especially busy because Staten Island commuters take the bus from the Rock and transfer at the R Train there, where there often is a line of buses.

“Most of the service connections are located there,” said Condren. “The amount of traffic there has grown over the last five or 10 years, but the city hasn’t changed its infrastruc­ture.”

The portion of the roadway that will lose two lanes — from Shore Road to Fourth Avenue — is mainly residential, and, according to the city, people tend to speed there, and reducing the amount of lanes should slow them down.

“When there’s high capacity on a roadway, drivers tend to speed up,” said Anne Marie Doherty of the Department of Transportation.

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Reader Feedback

mike from GP says:
Sorry, but Councilman Gentile is the last person who should relied upon for accurate information about traffic calming.
Oct. 11, 2011, 1:57 am
Vinnie from Bay Ridge says:
It's good to know that Vincent Gentile and members of CB10 prioritize five seconds of Staten Island car commuters' time ahead of their own constituents who keep being run over by cars at this intersection.

As for Marty Markowitz's Fourth Avenue "plan..." Marty's been blathering about Fourth Avenue for six years now with no results. Borough Hall is a nearly powerless city agency when it comes to this issue. Why in the world would we wait for Marty's "plan" to come out before taking action to fix Brooklyn's most dangerous intersections? How is this considered a responsible position for a City Council member to take?
Oct. 11, 2011, 9:41 am
Rupert from Bklyn says:
What the hell is wrong with this "newspaper"? How does Gersh sleep at night? Counting page views? What a shame.
Oct. 11, 2011, 10:14 am
Another unbiased editore from PPW says:
Gersh, how did this graf make it into your story?

"Because of that waste of money — along with the fact that Borough President Markowitz has a plan to make the entirety of Fourth Avenue more pedestrian-friendly — some pols are balking at the 86th Street plan."

Saying that something was a "waste of money" is editorializing and has no place in a story by a reporter. The only people who wasted anyone's money were the politicians who decided to score a few points against Bloomberg and held their own constituents' safety in such low regard. You could have simply said, "Because of that experience..." and adhered to a minimum standard of objective journalism.

I agree with Vinnie. If Brooklyn waited for Marty Markowitz to deliver, all we would get would be basketball arenas in every neighborhood. Traffic calming measures that would save lives on a stretch of road with 91 accidents in four years? Marty and Gentile are okay waiting on that one.
Oct. 11, 2011, 10:35 am
Joe Blow from Bay Ridge says:
We need back in angle parking on 86th Street. It will add more parking spaces and won't impede traffic at all, since 86th Street is choked by double parking now. And slowing traffic down is a net benefit anyway.
Oct. 11, 2011, 3:45 pm
mike from bhurst says:
nothing will fix that corner. the traffic stinks in brooklyn. and its only getting worse. its a ——hole
Oct. 13, 2011, 1:04 pm
Mr. Frost from Bay Ridge says:
WANT TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM!? Get rid of the "Bus Depot" that has formed on 4th Ave. and 86th street.
We never had the problem before they decided to have no less then 6 buses stop or park in a one block radius!
Why is this there last stop? When in the past 95th Street was and should be again! It only makes sense!
95th street has a larger train station and platform, not to mention 4 entrance and exits. Were 86th only has two small ones and one mini on the corner of 85th!
Also let's not forget the DEATH'S that have happen in this intersection also, due to this mass congestion. It has become a real hazard.
Reach out to your local congressman and have them address the real issue they seem to over look.
Oct. 14, 2011, 1:21 pm
Liz from Bay Ridge says:
Why not put some traffic agents there like they do on Chambers and Broadway and a highway cop every now and then. That should clear it up considerably. I also agree with Mr. Frost. 95th street should be the depot.
Oct. 21, 2011, 10:28 pm

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