City moves on Borinquen traffic slowdown

The Brooklyn Paper
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The city is finally doing something to make a deadly road in Williamsburg, where three people have been killed in the past two years, safer for bicyclists and pedestrians.

Two months after a man was killed and his female companion was seriously injured by a hit-and-run driver while crossing Borniquen Place, the city has released a plan to drastically overhaul the extension of Grand Avenue between Union Avenue and the Williamsburg Bridge that has for years been used as a speedway to Manhattan.

The Department of Transportation says it will make it more difficult for drivers to speed there by funneling traffic into one thinner lane, grooving the pavement to take away the smooth ride it now allows, and re-jiggering traffic lights. New signs will also be installed to help drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists understand who belongs where and when.

The city won’t say if the proposed changes, which it presented to Community Board One last week, are in response to the death in November, but some on the board consider that to be the case.

“That sort of put an urgency behind it,” said board member Ryan Kuonen. “In that whole area, the lanes are super wide and it becomes a speedway. It’s one lane, but it’s not marked and it’s big enough to fit three cars.”

The changes were hailed by bicycle and pedestrian advocates, but some cautioned that street design is only one part of the plan to keep people safe. Another is enforcement of the laws that are already on the books.

“Design is one thing, but we need police out there ticketing drivers,” said Juan Martinez of Transportation Alternatives. “Speeding is the number one cause of driving deaths. It should be the number one in ticketed violations.”

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at or by calling (718) 260-2511. Follow her at

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Reader Feedback

mike from GP says:
Great news! And yes, we definitely need NYPD enforcement.

Also, tolls on the bridge would go a long way!
Jan. 24, 2013, 8:13 am
Or from Yellow Hook says:
What's the difference between a traffic jamb and traffic calming?

A $4 million dollar study!
Jan. 24, 2013, 1:54 pm
Dave from Park Slope says:
The Brooklyn Paper's commenters never fail to distinguish themselves with their hateful idiocy, matched only by the Paper's utter failure to moderate the idiocy.
Jan. 25, 2013, 8:08 am
Jake from Williamsburg says:
Some pretty hateful and ignorant things are being said along with a complete lack of information or understanding of well....anything.
Completely uncalled for to say that if it had happened to Puerto Ricans the city would have ignored the situation.

Let's see, Raul De La Cruz and Leopoldo Hernandez we're both killed on this stretch of road. The driver who killed Raul, was Adam Recio. Another person from the neighborhood.
Case closed, it's all the fault of the white drunk scumbags.

Quit looking for someone to blame and start looking for a solution.
Jan. 25, 2013, 10:28 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
How about just fixing the timing of the traffic signals instead? This will barely cost much and it can be done is less than half the time this so-called traffic calming will take. This street is important to vehicular traffic especially because it leads to the Williamsburg Bridge. Traffic calming actually hurts in the long run especially by reducing the number of travel lanes. Also, a number of buses are using this as well, so the traffic calming can hurt that as well, and you should know who to thank for this. I won't be suprised if I am hearing on either New Radio 880 or 1010 Wins is that traffic to the Manhattan bound Williamsburg Bridge will be packed from both the regular street approach and the BQE. Overall, this just brings in a cycle where a later generation will see it being packed and will remove the traffic calming to move it more efficiently only to be done again by another generation to say it's bad. Just fix the timing of the signals and there won't be a cycle of disputes.
Jan. 25, 2013, 4:11 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:

Traffic calming is not just reducing lanes. It is thinking about how traffic moves.

Let me make it simple for you

If a road is one lane wide except for a a 1/4 mile stretch drive will use that short stretch to "race" forward and attempt to pass each other. Then they have to merge again.

This is dangerous.

Removing that second lane for it's 1/4 mile makes things safer and in reality moistener keep moving at the same speed anyway.
Jan. 25, 2013, 5:02 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Other Michael, why should so much money be used to reduce major roadways when more cheaper and easier solutions exist? Perhaps some roads wouldn't be so dangerous if everyone using them followed the rules rather than flouted them. That can be done with better enforcement, and that won't cost extra, because there are already cops there. Fixing the timing of the traffic signals won't just cost lesser compared to this traffic calming, but it won't cause a major disturbance either. Somehow, I feel that some of the accidents were caused by pedestrians who were jaywalking, which does place them into harm's way giving the motorist little time to act.
Jan. 25, 2013, 7:11 pm
ty from pps says:
Tal -- You know you are ignorant, but you keep on keepin' on. Man. You last comment is just full of dumb.
Jan. 25, 2013, 7:51 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:

Did you even read what I typed?
Jan. 26, 2013, 3:37 am
Clara from Pleasantville says:
I agree with Tal - if someone arrested those filthy Puerto Ricans, instead Of letting them prance around committing crimes , then maybe we wouldn't have to have so many plants!!
Jan. 26, 2013, 2:47 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
First of all, I am NOT racist by any means, and I will call slander on anyone who says otherwise at me. I couldn't care what cultural background those who got hit were. What I do care is that pedestrians should follow the rules to by only crossing on the walk signals rather than jaywalking, which is crossing whenever they feel like it. This is what I mean by going into harm's way. Just fix the timing of the signals. Doing so won't just cost less compared to this traffic calming, but it won't cause any type disturbances, plus enforcement on everyone would help as well.
Jan. 26, 2013, 5:42 pm
Rob from Greenpoint says:
Looking forward to this. There's nothing like proving whiny NIMBYs wrong like the facts on the ground.
Jan. 26, 2013, 6:05 pm
bkdude says:
I came here to see tal, and ty fight
Jan. 26, 2013, 10:12 pm

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