Bay Ridge’s New Fourth Avenue Plan

Barrier Ridge: New city traffic plan includes Manhattan-style pedestrian fencing

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En garde!

Manhattan-style pedestrian barricades could come to Bay Ridge if the latest draft of the city’s plan for Fourth Avenue goes through.

The Department of Transportation unveiled a tweaked version of the proposed overhaul of the corridor that it first showed off at a March 21 public forum to Community Board 10 on May 13— and among the alterations to the plan is a metal barrier similar to the once-controversial pedestrian blockades along Broadway and Sixth Avenue near Herald Square. The fence would stretch from 86th Street halfway down the block to 87th Street, on the side nearest Third Avenue, ensuring no jaywalking takes place in that area.

City representatives said the department of transportation is reluctant to install the corral, but said that the agency had decided it was necessary to prevent pedestrians from crossing mid-block.

“This is not one of our favorite things to do, but we believe it would improve safety,” said spokesman Jesse Mintz-Roth.

The pedestrian fences caused controversy when they first appeared in Manhattan, but have since become commonplace in areas where pedestrian traffic is heavy — or where it could be dangerous to cross the street because of oncoming automobiles. The pedestrian corrals already exist in Brooklyn on Jay Street near the Manhattan Bridge off-ramp, where cars flow from the bridge on to local streets toward the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway.

No CB10 member objected to the idea at the meeting, and board member Andrew Gounardes even suggested putting a second fence stretching from 87th Street halfway to 86th on the side toward Fifth Avenue to keep people inside the crosswalks.

A car struck and killed a woman crossing Fourth Avenue halfway between 86th and 87th streets on April 1. But Mintz-Roth admitted that most car-pedestrian collisions occur in the crosswalk, while the pedestrian has the light — which is why the plan still includes an elevated concrete island in the middle of the southern side of the 86th Street and Fourth Avenue intersection to provide refuge.

The design would extend the bus stop on the side nearest Third Avenue down to 87th Street, and convert the right hand lane along those blocks to a buses-only corridor.

The revised vision has the city also stripping away a lane between 95th and 101st streets on the Sunset Park-bound side to slow down drivers coming off the Belt Parkway. The updated plan would also relocate eight parking spots from Fourth Avenue between 65th and 66th streets to Shore Road Drive, creating a new lane to reduce congestion. The design still shaves the thoroughfare down to a single lane in each direction for 13 blocks between Ovington Avenue and 86th Street, widens parking lanes, and creates a left turn bay at 75th Street.

Mintz-Roth, who used to work for car-critic group Transportation Alternatives, argued that the plan would slow down Fourth Avenue speeders and curb the recent spate of pedestrian collisions.

“We’re looking to get drivers out of the highway mindset,” said Mintz-Roth.

But CB10 member Allen Bortnick accused Mintz-Roth of trying to scare people into voting for the revamp, which he claimed would result in chaos on the roadway.

“This plan stinks. This is going to create congestion at 86th and Fourth Avenue the likes of which you have never seen,” said Bortnick. “You people don’t know what you’re doing.”

But Mintz-Roth claimed that the city’s computer models showed that the plan would only tack a few minutes onto Fourth Avenue commutes.

“You would notice it, but it wouldn’t be a traffic jam,” he said.

The board will not vote on the proposal until after a larger public hearing scheduled for June 5.

Public Forum on Department of Transportation Proposal for Fourth Avenue at Saint Anselm’s Church [365 83rd Street, between Third and Fourth avenues in Bay Ridge] June 5, 7:15 pm.

Reach reporter Will Bredderman at or by calling (718) 260-4507. Follow him

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Reasonable discourse

ty from pps says:
These are standard operating procedure in most other large cities in areas where there are masses of pedestrians and potential for conflict... Always wondered why NYC didn't have these.
May 15, 2013, 10:44 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
"The fence would stretch from 86th Street halfway down the block to 87th Street, on the side nearest Third Avenue, ensuring no jaywalking takes place in that area."

How about stepping up enforcement on jaywalking instead of having to spend so much to make the street inconvenient to motorists?
May 15, 2013, 4:42 pm
Q from Bay Ridge says:
People at this intersection consistently shoot out between buses, shoot out of the subway, and tempt fate at crosswalks. Slowing traffic will lead to slower commutes, not necessarily a safer intersection. And to say that according to computer models, this will only add a couple minutes to 4th Ave commutes is laughable. With traffic and congestion being as miserable city-wide as it always is, I would love a proposal that makes commutes easier, not adds to congestion.
May 15, 2013, 4:44 pm
trans alt from my bike says:
You want an easier commute, ditch your cars. Driving is going to continue to become more difficult and expensive. Eventually you will get the message.
May 15, 2013, 5:11 pm
frankf from coney island says:
oh by all means give out $2 jay walking tickets. ain't worth the paperwork.
May 15, 2013, 7:21 pm
John from Bay Ridge says:
Q, take the subway.
May 15, 2013, 8:45 pm
Zulu from Harlem says:
Barzilai, so you place convenience for motorists above the value of people's lives'? Remember when you get out of your motor vehicle you are a pedestrian too. Pedestrians are the most vulnerable road users and as such require more protection from the most potentially harm inflicting of road users...people like you behind a windshield.
May 16, 2013, 10:13 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Zulu, many of the latest hits pedestrians had from cars was from actually from jaywalking. If you truly want safe roads, then everybody must follow the rules, not just one group only. Why is it that you feel that only motorists have to follow every letter of the law, which many actually do on a daily basis, while cyclists and pedestrians can do whatever they want on the road? Sounds like George Orwell's Animal Farm where only a certain group of animals had to be subject to all laws while certain animals were exempt from that. Ironically, in so many other cities both in this country and around the world are actually cracking down on jaywalking by both enforcing it constantly and increasing the fines. I guess the reason why so many jaywalk here is because they know that they won't get caught for the most part of that the fine is really nothing more than a slap on the wrist, which will encourage them to only do it more. Seriously, I doubt that the traffic calming plan will help and will most likely make traffic worse as many others have when placed.
May 16, 2013, 6:27 pm
Zulu from Harlem says:
Barzilai, you want to crack down on jaywalking, fine by me, but not before installing speeding cameras across the five boroughs. What's good for the goose is good for the gander. And yes, it would generate a lot of revenue but also save a lot of lives. The reason why speeding in a city is so dangerous, is because getting struck by a vehicle above 30mph almost guarantees death to the unlucky pedestrian. So what may not be perceived as a big deal by a driver to go 35 on a 30 is most likely a death sentence to the hapless pedestrian. And as much as people think they are good drivers the truth is that they are not. Unfortunately for those on foot your windshield perspective is not letting you read the article above objectively. Attached (for your convenience) is a section that mentions where most collisions take place: "But Mintz-Roth admitted that most car-pedestrian collisions occur in the crosswalk, while the pedestrian has the light — which is why the plan still includes an elevated concrete island in the middle of the southern side of the 86th Street and Fourth Avenue intersection to provide refuge." Furthermore, pedestrians outnumber drivers in NYC so in the democratic interest of the masses traffic calming is the best approach to afford safety to the majority. The reason why so many jaywalk here as you pointed out, is NOT because they know they won't get caught, it's because the infrastructure (sidewalks, and crosswalks) are deficient for the number of pedestrians that have come to live and work in NYC. In other words the supply does not meet the demand. If the roads were fashioned in proportion to the usage it receives, it would have much wider sidewalks and fewer and narrower traveling lanes. You're right about one thing, traffic will probably get worse, but that's the idea. I'm hoping it gets MUCH WORSE to the point that people stop driving in lieu of more sensible means of transportation. Only those that truly require to drive would and should. As far as Mr. Orwell's reference goes, his book was intended to criticize Stalin's regime of terror over the USSR. Similar to the way drivers terrorize pedestrians by seriously injuring/killing over 70,000 of us a year when they speed and run red lights. One last thing, please, be kind to others, don't speed, don't run red lights, and watch out for pedestrians like you would watch out for your children. Because it's the children that are getting hurt the most on these mean streets.
May 16, 2013, 11:25 pm
Joe from Bay Ridge says:
Hey, Tal:
"Mintz-Roth admitted that most car-pedestrian collisions occur in the crosswalk, while the pedestrian has the light ..."
May 17, 2013, 1:41 am
Zulu from Harlem says:
Let's not forget all the curb jumping drivers killing and maiming pedestrians on the sidewalk waiting for the bus or going about their business. If that's not a reason for traffic calming...
May 17, 2013, 8:35 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Zulu, what you said in that long comment is exactly how Bloomberg likes to address problems just by creating them to begin with, and then looking for a scapegoat later on. My guess is that you want traffic so congested, it will be a great way to promote congestion pricing despite how much it was despised in the past and got defeated especially from those living in the outer boroughs and suburbs. If it was defeated in a humiliating manner before and it will again. For the record, I support enforcement for all groups, not just one here. BTW, the number of motorists that run red lights isn't that big of number, and I never heard you talking about all the cyclists who are running them all the time let alone pedestrians who jaywalking, which both of them is placing themselves into harm's way. Then again, websites like Streetsblog will probably call them martyrs and will find ways to change around the stories to make them sound like that. Anyway, enforcing probably doesn't cost as much as traffic calming. As for my reference to George Orwell, the cyclists and pedestrians are the ones who are acting like the special animals here in believing that the rules never apply to them, and I have said this over in the NY Times with many recommending my comment for that whenever I mention it, which shows that I do get thanked in more open societies rather than some place here where just fanatics are running the show and call for either silence of censorship on those who don't see the world through their eyes.
May 17, 2013, 5:47 pm
ty from pps says:
Hey Tal -- You're stupid. When will you realize that? This most recent comment is absurd on so many levels.

Not that big of a number? Hmm... Where are you getting all of these data? I saw 4 cars run red lights just today... that was on the 1.5 mile journey to work and back. Did Bloomberg cause these 4 drivers to run the read lights?

Did I mention you're an idiot?
May 17, 2013, 7:27 pm
ty from pps says:
By the way, I wish I could see the world through your eyes... It must be a strange place. Living in your world must be better than taking narcotics.
May 17, 2013, 7:29 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Ty, I think you are the one taking narcotics here, not me. Honestly, I find traffic calming to be more of a short term goal rather than a long term goal here. Even with the roads reduced, I doubt that many will just stop driving. Before you tell me that there is always transit available, try looking at where they are coming from, because this isn't always available for everyone. BTW, why is it that whenever I go by Yankee Stadium on the Major Deegan Expressway when a game is about to start or end, it is packed despite the fact that there are three subway lines and a commuter rail line that goes there? For every car you say that runs a red light, and I can say the same for every bicycles that does the same or even a pedestrian that crosses against the light as well. You have no moral legitimacy to see who should be following the rules when you probably don't yourself.
May 17, 2013, 7:57 pm
ty from pps says:
Tal - You don't have any legitimacy... because you are stupid. But I'm glad you're having fun asking rhetorical questions and then answering them with crazy.
May 17, 2013, 8:03 pm
Jay from sunset says:
Honestly people just need to learn how to f-ucking cross the street. Jay walking is illegal but it's also a widely accepted thing to do in NYC. If you go to Toronto you won't find jay walkers as much as they are here. Have you been to sunset? People are always walking across the street without looking or they think they can outrun vehicles that have right of way. It's pretty pathetic, and if people do get hit, it's their own fault because shi-t happens and happens for a reason.
May 19, 2013, 4:48 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I won't say that jaywalkers deserve to get hit, but when they are not following the rules, they are at risk by placing themselves into harm's way. Whenever, I cross the street, I do wait for the walk signal rather than just crossing whenever I feel like it. Also, the jaywalker gives very little time for being noticed when they do this, which is why it should be enforced more. As usual, I won't be surprised if the anti-car crowd over on Streetsblog will be crying to foul to this as they when there is a crackdown on cyclists who are flouting the laws as well. Honestly, I find it dangerous to jaywalk. Overall, I would rather prefer that than using traffic calming and it probably costs less at the same time.
May 19, 2013, 7:54 pm
Zulu from Harlem says:
Tal, I didn't bring up bicyclists because the article was not about bicyclists. It was about the conflict between drivers and pedestrians. A conflict that injures/kills 70,000 human beings a year in New York. So if traffic calming is not a good solution in your opinion what would be? How do you propose improving the current conditions on city streets? The population is growing and urban centers are becoming very popular once again. How would you handle it? Honestly, I want to know. When you propose your plan, keep in mind that drivers are not the only users and pedestrians outnumber those who drive by a very large margin.
May 21, 2013, 8:46 am
Zulu from Harlem says:
Honestly drivers just need to learn how to f-ucking drive on the streets. Speeding and running red lights is illegal but it's also a widely accepted thing to do in NYC. If you go to _______ (insert any far distant city here) you won't find speeders and red light runners as much as they are here. Have you been to _______ (anywhere in NYC)? Drivers are always running the red lights and speeding without looking or they think they can run over pedestrians that have the right of way. It's pretty pathetic, and if drivers wreck, it's their own fault because shi-t happens and happens for a reason.

Do you see what I did there?
May 21, 2013, 11:39 am
pattie d from Bay Ridge says:
HELLO! Put a single lane in each direction. How will the mothers pick up their kids from the schools along 4th avenue? This has created a very dangerous situation for years. Dangerous for the kids, other pedestrians and drivers as well. Come on Moms, get a little exercise after the nail salon and pick up your kids and walk home. They probably need the exercise as well.
May 21, 2013, 9:05 pm
Schwinny from Bay Ridge says:
Amazing! What a bunch of Rubes! You're stupid! No, You're stupid! We live in the Big City . Guess you out of towners never played in the street . You know,with a spaldeen. Why don't you get on your bikes or put on your walking shoes and take a hike back to Mayberry! Please be careful and don't get run over by a tractor!
May 21, 2013, 9:31 pm
Frankie from Bensonhurst says:
Hey, Schwinny, I coudn't agree with you enough.These people don't have a clue.No street smarts. A sub is not a hero and these people don't have city in their blood.
May 21, 2013, 9:44 pm

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