Drivers say new signs at the Gowanus Expressway and Belt Parkway split are just as bad as the old ones

Gowanus Distressway: Signs still wack after promised fix

The Brooklyn Paper
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The state Department of Transportation must make good on its promise to make the Gowanus-Expressway-and-Belt-Parkway split navigable, frustrated motorists say. The agency put up perplexing temporary placards telling drivers how to negotiate the perpetually under-construction stretch and promised to replace them with readable, permanent posts by August. Officials re-jiggered the guides since August, but the new, still-temporary signs are 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,” said Richard Hecht. “You’re driving at 50 miles an hour and that’s supposed to be your notification of the lane? It’s ridiculous.”

The state built a high-occupancy vehicle lane along the left side of the roadway leading to the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, but the two right lanes also lead to the Gowanus Expressway and majestic, half-century-old span. Drivers must stay in a center lane to enter the Queens-bound Belt Parkway, but the state’s temporary signs at the split mistakenly suggest motorists move to the right-hand lanes to get there, drivers say.

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

“They did put up better signage — I’m not going to say its good signage, but it is better,” she said. “It’s all low at the driver’s level, so people don’t see it until they’re right on top of it. It causes dangerous, erratic driving.”

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 are 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 awarding cash for the project, which pushed back the completion date, a state construction supervisor told the community board in June.

The state Department of Transportation did not respond to requests for comment in time for publication.

Reach reporter Dennis Lynch at (718) 260–2508 or e-mail him at
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Sean F from Bensonhurst says:
With a four-lane highway, it's rather non-intuitive that the second-from-the-left lane is the exit lane. This is made further confusing by the fact that, when the HOV lane reverses, the exit lane is now the left lane. Signage for the Belt/BQE split needs to start as far back as 38th Street, or even just after the Prospect Expressway exit, and be repeated at least twice before the actual split. That will give drivers ample opportunity to change lanes safely, and line themselves up for their intended destination.
Dec. 14, 2015, 1:33 pm
Trollerskates from Moving Target says:
Just tear down that Moses inspired eyesore already. Remodel 3rd Avenue into something resembling Ocean Parkway, except with more bike lanes. Would be the best thing to happen to Sunset Park.
Dec. 14, 2015, 4:06 pm
ty from pps says:
there should be a bike lane on the gowanus in both directions.
Dec. 14, 2015, 5:41 pm
MJ from Bay Ridge says:
we need streetcars that goes from Sunset Park to Staten Island via gowanus expressway and VZ bridge.
Dec. 14, 2015, 7:30 pm
rj from Bay Ridge says:
Oh yeah, that is all we need on the gowanus is a bike lane, then we can have some idiotic bicyclists thrown in. That is the problem with this city, it has gone bike crazy, & we drivers suffer.
Dec. 15, 2015, 12:16 am
ty from pps says:
OK. I do appreciate the fact that the dumb comment posted by a fake "ty from pps" was the cause of the even stupider comment by "rj from Bay Ridge." Oh the suffering!
Dec. 15, 2015, 10:27 am
rj from Bay Ridge says:
Sorry ty, but the original bike lane comment was far"stupider" than mine. PS Yes, & drivers DO suffer at the stupid decisions made by so called DOT.
Dec. 15, 2015, 11:07 am
ty from pps says:
Oh the suffering! rj how do you do it? You're a hero.
Dec. 15, 2015, 11:47 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
They really should make the routes there a lot more straightforward, because when I last used that, I did end finding myself on the VNB and having to pay the toll to get back. I really hope this problem is fixed ASAP. As for Trollerskates, tearing down the Gowanus Expressway isn't going to happen anytime in the near future, and if that did happen, this would result in numerous commercial traffic on local roads. Do you really want that to happen? Of course generations at that time will be wondering why that's the case, and they will know it's because the Gowanus Expressway was torn down feeling that it's a bad idea. Meanwhile, I don't get the statement by ty and MJ wanting bike lanes on this highway or streetcars when I find both of those ideas to be expensive and unrealistic.
Dec. 15, 2015, 3:28 pm

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