The city will reconfigure one of Brooklyn’s most-dangerous intersections — at Adams and Tillary streets in Downtown — but the work won’t happen without a fight, insiders said.
It’s a second go-around for the Department of Transportation, which came to Community Board 2 in April with a plan to reroute Brooklyn Bridge–bound traffic through Brooklyn Heights — but that plan was resoundingly rejected by the panel.
So last Tuesday, the city was back with a new version — a six-month pilot plan that would require drivers heading northbound on Adams Street to turn left onto Joralemon Street instead of onto Tillary Street if they want to avoid the Brooklyn Bridge. There will also be a temporary, gasoline-powered sign to alert Adams Street drivers that Joralemon Street will be their only chance to make a left turn before the bridge.
Under the same proposal, eastbound drivers leaving Brooklyn Heights and heading for the Brooklyn Bridge on Tillary Street would no longer be allowed to turn left onto the bridge entrance ramp on Adams Street, but would continue one more block and make their left onto Jay Street. After passing two stop lights, those drivers would then make another left on Sands Street and wait at another light before using the less-travelled entrance ramp there.
In addition, there will be wider medians and increased walk times for pedestrians.
Longtime resident Bill Harris said the city proposal will be hard to sell. He prefers a pedestrian overpass over Adams Street rather than diverting traffic to Joralemon Street, which is already choked with Court Street and Brooklyn Heights–bound traffic, including lots of busses.
“That little block [of Joralemon] between Adams and Court streets is very complicated,” he said. “It’s going to be a nightmare.”
A Department of Transportation spokesman said the new volume at Joralemon Street would be equivalent of one extra car trip per minute at the busiest times.
The Adams–Tillary intersection is one of the 10 most dangerous for cyclists, according to data compiled by Transportation Alternatives, a bike-advocacy group.
“Adams and Tillary street is a huge and dangerous intersection, and it’s dangerous for bikers and for walkers,” said Noah Budnick, the group’s deputy director. “Banning that turn will make the intersection less complicated. More traffic restrictions need to follow, but it’s a step in the right direction.”
Budnick has long advocated for a second bike lane on Jay Street. “If the city is intending to move more traffic down Jay Street, it will really increase the necessity of improving Jay Street,” he said.
Trying to tamp down controversy, Community Board 2 District Manager Rob Perris said that any changes would be done in a reversible way so that if they can be undone if new problems arise.