Beginning to see the light! New traffic signal coming to Columbia Street

Beginning to see the light! New traffic signal coming to Columbia Street
Photo by Jason Speakman

This project has a green light — and a red and yellow one, too!

The city will install a new stop light and crosswalk on Columbia Street at Congress Street next year, following years of complaints by locals who claim the combination of cars zooming onto the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and families dashing across the asphalt on their way to nearby Brooklyn Bridge Park is a disaster waiting to happen.

“As a father of two boys, I’ve been going to Brooklyn Bridge Park with strollers and scooters for years, and the Congress Street intersection is not the most pleasant spot to cross,” said Gary Reilly, a Carroll Gardens resident and chairman of Community Board 6, which has been asking the city to make the crossing safer for years in chorus with local pols and civic groups.

There is already a light and crossing a block away at the entrance to the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, but local streets funnel many park-going pedestrians to the Congress Street intersection first, and many evidently opt to play real-life Frogger by crossing immediately instead of walking the extra few hundred feet.

Others claim they would rather just stay home than risk crossing anywhere on the treacherous thoroughfare.

“My husband and I have sometimes avoided walking to Brooklyn Bridge Park due to the danger of crossing Columbia and I’ve heard near-death stories from neighboring families,” said Laurel Burr, president of civic group the Cobble Hill Association.

There have been four car crashes at the Columbia at Congress streets intersection this year, though none involving pedestrians, according to city data.

The city plans to install the new signal and crosswalk in January 2016.

Reach reporter Harry MacCormack at hmaccormack@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow him on Twitter @HMacBKPaper.