It’s a Go-wanus! State fixes confusing expressway signs

It’s a Go-wanus! State fixes confusing expressway signs
Photo by Georgine Benvenuto

Sometimes you have to stick with the classics.

The state Department of Transportation took down confusing temporary signs marking the Belt Parkway’s split from the Gowanus Expressway and uncovered old signs that correctly mark the divergence just one day after a Courier Life article pointing out the misleading markers. The reversion should provide some relief to perplexed drivers, a local leader said.

“I’m sure motorists who were concerned about it will be very happy to see those changes because we had some real safety concerns about that area,” said Community Board 10 district manager Josephine Beckmann, who hasn’t seen the new signs yet but said her office fielded complaints about the old ones.

A temporary sign suggesting a Verrazano-Narrows-Bridge-bound lane would take drivers to the Belt Parkway frustrated motorists on the perpetually under-construction stretch for months. In September, the state promised to replace them with readable, permanent posts by August. Officials re-jiggered the guides since then, but the newer temporary signs were totally misleading and causing people to drive erratically, one miffed motorist said.

“They’re right at the meaty point of the split, and the paint on the roadway leading up to it is worn out,” Richard Hecht said in a story published to the web earlier this week. “You’re driving at 50 miles an hour and that’s supposed to be your notification of the lane? It’s ridiculous.”

The state is also repainting lines and expects the work to be done Dec. 18, a spokeswoman said.

Workers put up new signs after completing some of work on the roadway in August, but the area remained confusing, and Belt Parkway-seeking travelers often erroneously ended up on the Gowanus Expressway — or executed white-knuckle swerves into the Belt Parkway lane, said Community Board 10 member Doris Cruz.

The split has become notorious with area drivers who have begrudgingly learned to roll with the changes, but out-of-towners and infrequent highway users were constantly caught off guard, a local pol said.

“It’s nonsense, you either have to make quick sense of the signs — which change every so often — or know the area very well,” said Councilman Vincent Gentile (D–Bay Ridge).

The construction causing the commotion is part a state overhaul to the aging, raised roadway that started in 2010. Officials originally intended the work to be done in May, but the state comptroller delayed approving the project, which pushed back the completion date, a state construction supervisor told the community board in June.

The state will install supplemental signs in early 2016, a spokeswoman said.

Reach reporter Dennis Lynch at (718) 260–2508 or e-mail him at dlynch@cnglocal.com.
In the rearview: The misleading temporary signs are gone.
Photo by Georgine Benvenuto