Ridge board committee hints it wants to slow down Fourth Avenue cars

FENCED IN: The city is considering installing pedestrian barriers, similar to the black fenced seen here at Herald Square in Manhattan, on Fourth Avenue near 86th Street in Bay Ridge
Department of Transportation

Community Board 10’s Traffic and Transportation committee wants a slower, safer Fourth Avenue — but they seem to have a fear of closed spaces.

The panel voted to approve the entire city proposal for reforming the corridor — except for the elevated concrete island and suggested pedestrian fence at the 86th Street intersection.

Board members argued that the fence — which would stretch from the corner nearest Third Avenue and the Verrazano Bridge to half the way to 87th Street to discourage people from jaywalking or leaving idling cars nearby — could potentially become an obstacle for people disembarking from the bus that stops nearby. Others felt that the area isn’t densely populated enough to call for the barriers, which the city uses to control foot traffic in places like Herald Square and Jay Street near the Manhattan Bridge off-ramp.

“This just doesn’t belong,” said committee member Lawrence Stelter.

On the concrete island, which would also sit on the side of the 86th Street intersection nearest 87th Street, the vote ended in a stalemate. Opponents feared the island would leave too little space for wide-turning vehicles.

“I’m really not feeling the island,” said CB10er Jon Yedin.

But the committee voted to support stripping away a lane between 95th and 101st streets on the Sunset Park-bound side to slow down drivers coming off the Belt Parkway. It also voted for relocating eight parking spots from Fourth Avenue between 65th and 66th streets to Shore Road Drive in order to form a new lane and reduce congestion. They also backed shaving the thoroughfare down to a single lane in each direction for 13 blocks between Ovington Avenue and 86th Street, widening parking lanes, and creating a left turn bay at 75th Street.

But the vote did not come without a fight. Some board members argued that Fourth Avenue is a vital lifeline to the rest of Brooklyn — one that should not be constricted.

“I don’t see why you would take a thoroughfare like Fourth Avenue and choke it to death,” said Greg Ahl.

Reach reporter Will Bredderman at wbredderman@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4507. Follow him at twitter.com/WillBredderman.

Washed away: The committee could not decide whether to support a concrete island on one side of the 86th Street intersection.
Courtesy of Department of Transportation

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