Call it ‘Fulton Mess’ as city begins major repairs

No, those aren’t toddlers being shepherded through the intersection of Fulton and Jay Streets with a rope; they’re adults on the Fulton Mall, where traffic got even worse last week as part of an ongoing city repair project.

The process began last Monday, when the city closed the mall between Adams Street and Smith/Jay Street — a hub for six MTA bus lines that are now being re-routed. The construction has caused problems for pedestrians and cyclists trying to cross the street safely.

“It’s dangerous!” said lifetime Brooklyn resident Moses Benjamin, who tiptoed his way across the intersection of Fulton and Jay streets on his way to CVS. “The cops are blowing their whistles, and the cars aren’t stopping. I’ve never seen this area this bad in my entire life.”

Half of the intersection has been uprooted, forcing Borough Hall-bound buses to instead make a left onto Jay Street and then to squeeze into a narrowed area, as pedestrians dangle dangerously in the street. The situation has gotten so bad — and Brooklynites so unruly — that the MTA decided on Wednesday to hold back pedestrians with a rope at the corner of Fulton and Jay streets.

“We added the rope to make things safer,” said the MTA superintendent at the scene. “These people just don’t want to walk on the sidewalk. It’s not confusion; it’s New Yorkers.”

Adding to the mess, the southbound bike lane on Jay Street is completely blocked in the area. On a street that Transportation Alternatives estimates hosts “thousands” of bikers a day, cyclists are being forced to swerve left into the busy intersection.

“It [the intersection] always sucked, but now it’s even worse,” cyclist Scott Boyd said. “It’s good that they are rebuilding, but hurry up!”

Impatient Brooklynites like Boyd may not be in luck. The MTA says that the Adams Street to Jay Street work will be finished by the end of this week, but then the area from Jay Street to Flatbush Avenue will be closed off in the next phase of the rebuilding.

The entire process won’t be done until April, 2011, at the earliest.