Bay Ridge Fourth Avenue Taffic Calming

Need for speed: Ridgites square off over Fourth Ave slow-down plan

The Brooklyn Paper
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Members of a Bay Ridge panel who attacked a plan by the city to slow down traffic along dangerous Fourth Avenue got rear-ended by one of the group’s traffic experts, who claimed the nay-sayers are most likely part of the problem on the strip.

Community Board 10’s former traffic and transportation committee chairwoman told the many residents who complained about the city’s plan to redesign the thoroughfare — which a federal study declared the third-most dangerous in Brooklyn — to make sure they weren’t breaking the law the next time they’re driving on Fourth.

“All you people complaining, next time you’re on Fourth, look at your speedometer and see what speed you’re going,” said Doris Cruz, who wants to see the city’s pedestrian-friendly plan implemented. “Because I don’t think you’re going 30.”

Cruz comments came during a heated debate Monday when members of the board picked apart the Department of Transporta­tion’s planned overhaul of the roadway between Ovington Avenue and 86th Street that intends to make the safer for pedestrians by removing a lane of traffic in each direction, widening parking areas, and adding concrete islands and pedestrian safety barriers — moves that some said would do nothing to help.

“It is not any more safe. It may even be worse,” said board member Scott Klein, who argued that a similar revamp caused chaos when implemented in Sunset Park, where he claimed the overhaul between 15th and 64th streets led to cars sitting two and three deep along the curb, blocking the pathway for drivers entirely.

But the proposal hit its biggest speed bump at the busy 86th Street intersection, where the Department of Transportation wants to install a concrete island on the southern side, erect a Manhattan-style pedestrian fence from 86th halfway to 87th Street, designate the right-hand lane heading toward the Verrazano Bridge as a bus-only corridor, and extend the bus stop to the block between 87th and 88th streets — all moves that were roundly booed out of fear they would disrupt vehicular traffic to much.

“If an ambulance had to pass there, it could cause a real problem,” said Rev. Khader El-Yateem.

One resident argued that the projected wrought-iron pedestrian corral — similar to the ones on Jay Street near the Manhattan Bridge off-ramp, where cars flow from the bridge on to local streets toward the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway — was bizarre, unnecessary, and ultimately useless.

“In Manhattan, I understand. But here I don’t think we need a fence,” said Rhea McCone. “We’ll just end up with people jumping over it.”

And Lawrence Stelter argued the idea to nudge the bus stop up half a block would result in desperate straphangers running into 87th Street traffic to catch their ride to Staten Island.

“We’re going to have people running across 87th Street, and cars coming,” Stelter said.

The city’s vision also involves stripping away a lane between 95th and 101st streets on the Sunset Park-bound side to slow down drivers coming off the Belt Parkway, relocating eight parking spots from Fourth Avenue between 65th and 66th streets to Shore Road Drive in order to create a new lane to reduce congestion, and installing a painted median and 22 left turn bays between Ovington Avenue and 86th Street.

For the record, the board members we spoke to said they don’t speed on Fourth Avenue — or at least try not to.

“I usually watch my speed, not only for my safety, but for the safety of others,” siad El-Yateem.

The Community Board will not vote on the proposal until after a larger public hearing scheduled for June 5.

Public Forum on Department of Transportation Proposal for Fourth Avenue at Saint Anselm’s Church [365 83rd St. between Third and Fourth avenues in Bay Ridge] June 5, 7:15 pm.

Reach reporter Will Bredderman at or by calling (718) 260-4507. Follow him
Updated 10:11 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reader feedback

Johnny Hammersticks from Brooklyn says:
In doing this study, did they happen to try to find how technology plays into this? And what I mean is, is it really the cars that are dangerous to pedestrians? Or are the pedestrians dangerous to pedestrians? Why is 4th avenue so dangerous now, as opposed to years ago?

How often do you see these mindless drones just walking down the street with their head buried in their phone, music blasting so loud into their Beats by Dre headphones, completely oblivious to everything going on around them.

I'm constantly getting bumped into by these idiots who don't watch where they are going. They have no regard for anyone or anything around them. They cross the street with reckless abandon.

Also, maybe they could restrict who gets a drivers license instead of giving them out like they give out condoms in schools. So many people are driving on these roads who have no business being behind the wheel. Instead, I've been driving for 16 years now and have managed to not hit one pedestrian, yet my commute is going get all out of whack because of the sins of others?
May 22, 2013, 4:57 am
Boris from Bay Ridge says:
Prozac Johnny, Prozac.
May 22, 2013, 8:14 am
Michael from Bay Ridge says:
I think that the driving on Fourth avenue is more aggressive than just a few years ago. I have no idea why.
Some pedestrians should think more about their own safety before Jay walking, but cars have more potential to hurt a pedestrian than the reverse. That is why they need more restriction. It's not fun, but it is fair.
May 22, 2013, 8:27 am
Mike from Williamsburg says:
"led to cars sitting two and three deep along the curb, blocking the pathway for drivers entirely."

That's because motorists are jerks, even to each other. I was in Bay Ridge and Sunset Park last weekend and there was so much double parking. I couldn't believe people would choose to live like this. Police should just walk/bike up and down the street all day ticketing everyone. Or just bring in tow trucks. Who cares if someone is sitting in the car while it's double parked? Sitting in a car doesn't make wherever you sit a parking space--it makes you a jerk.

Johnny-- I think you answered your own question. If careless pedestrians constantly bump into you, and you're no worse for the wear, you can safely conclude that pedestrians aren't dangerous to pedestrians. Cars, however, bump into pedestrians and kill them. From that you can conclude that cars are dangerous to pedestrians.
May 22, 2013, 8:31 am
Me from Bay Ridge says:
Michael is correct in his wondering. Fourth Avenue was widened in the '60s. Why has it suddenly become dangerous?
May 22, 2013, 9:06 am
VLM from Brooklyn says:
“If an ambulance had to pass there, it could cause a real problem,” said Rev. Khader El-Yateem.

That's crazy. Simply crazy.
May 22, 2013, 9:09 am
Johnny Hammersticks from Brooklyn says:
Michael, I agree with you.

Mike from Williamsburg,I appreciate your point but let me clarify because it seems my point is a little muttled.

I didn't mean that pedestrians are dangerous to other pedestrians. I meant they endanger themselves by walking aimlessly into traffic with their heads buried in their phones, jaywalking, having music blasting so they can't hear anything around them. There's a sort of ignorance that pedestrians have, where they believe they am do whatever they want because drivers are just gonna stop for them. This has increased in Bay Ridge over the past decade.

I'm not saying that drivers aren't at fault in all these accidents. And yes, people can and should drive safer. But lets be honest, many (not all) pedestrians who get hit, get hit because they put themselves in a position they shouldn't be.
May 22, 2013, 9:25 am
manposeur from brokeland says:
I don't how some people get driver's licenses. Some of you people trweat human life like insects.
Its necessary to slow you people down.
4th ave is not Indy 500 or some NASCAR race track where you can wreck human lives.
May 22, 2013, 9:29 am
Johnny Hammersticks from Brooklyn says:
Manposuer, watching some of the student drivers in Bay Ridge and Bath Beach, its frightening that these people will be allowed to drive.
May 22, 2013, 9:44 am
C from Bay Ridge says:
Once again, it comes down to light timing. And don't give me the number about how it doesn't work for two way streets because I have seen it implemented. Also, I think we can all agree as rational drivers that the incessant double parking needs to stop on 5th. Tow the cars with people in them 'waiting', I don't care.
May 22, 2013, 9:49 am
Tim from NotBayTrash says:
PWT in Bay Ridge will just have to drive slower to get to their suburban wanna-be-NYC homes.

You live in a city, fools. You don't need to drive. If you want a car so badly, move to Iowa.
May 22, 2013, 10:02 am
John from Bay Ridge says:
Some people don't watch where they are walking, but that's hardly the primary problem. we've had a rash of fatalities and serious injuries in recent years where people were mowed down by reckless drivers. Including two people that were struck by a car while in a crosswalk, crossing with the light. Both cars were turning. One caused the death of an elderly woman, and the other out a high school student in the hospital in critical condition. The 68th Precinct has never, and will never, enforce the law and issue moving violations in sufficient numbers to change driver behavior. the only way to protect the public is to create structural impediments to speeding. This traffic plan will do that. if it causes delays, so be it. Human life is worth more than minutes in commuting time.
May 22, 2013, 11:29 am
Rufus Leaking from BH says:
If this works, I'll sure miss the candle and teddy bear altars along the avenue from the people honoring those too stupid to cross the street!
May 22, 2013, 1:10 pm
MTO from Bay Ridge says:
Hey, John ! Feeling alright? Looks like you have a pal in Tim from I don't know where trash! A transplant to Park Slope, or Williamsburg would be a good guess, but more likely from OZ. You know the place with yellow brick roads, flying monkeys, and now two lollipop kids!
May 22, 2013, 2 pm
Frank from Bensonhurst says:
MTO ,good one. They need some snow. Get them out of the poppy field.Cut em loose on a baloon.
May 22, 2013, 3:05 pm
Tim from NotBayTrash says:
I'm from BK, fool. PH born and raised. Can't deal, move. Lots do. Don't need you and your fool car drivin. I got your OZ right here, ladyboy!
May 22, 2013, 3:46 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Just fix the timing of the lights and crackdown on jaywalking. Compared to the cost of traffic calming this is probably going to cost less. Seriously, 4th Avenue is a major thoroughfare in which commercial vehicles are using it on a daily basis as well. Using traffic calming will make it an inconvenience for them just as much. Ignoring the fact that it will hurt commuters is really a hit below belt and least the commuters have actual jobs unlike those thinking that they are nothing but a bunch of complainers. I am all for safe roads, but everyone has to follow the rules with no exceptions and I mean everyone, not just a certain group. Before you say follow the rules, I suggest looking at yourself and start practicing what you preach before going to others about it.
May 22, 2013, 3:51 pm
MTO from Bay Ridge says:
YEAH ,tiny tim ,you real bad cuz! Still put your lunch money in your sock mary ann?
May 22, 2013, 4:26 pm
Vito from Sheepshead says:
OO FA mto don,t mess with timmy he a real bad Oh shut your MOUF
May 22, 2013, 4:30 pm
Frank from Bensonhurst says:
Vito it's she a bad... SHUT YOUR MAWF
May 22, 2013, 5:18 pm
MTO from Bay Ridge says:
Yo! timmy, that OZ got a dual purpose? Helps your hemmorroids too?
May 22, 2013, 5:39 pm
James from bay ridge says:
Why are we always so concerned with minor disruptions to vehicle traffic when almost all trips taken to 86th st. and along 4th ave. (where the the R train runs) are by people walking. You can't have safe, walkable streets in a very dense urban environment and keep cars the number 1 priority. Make the changes please!
May 23, 2013, 9:29 am
Tim from NotBayTrash says:
Hehehe gotcha riled up huh ladyboys? Sad because you're gonna have to slowsly down a bit while drivin' back to the burbville in your leased out pimpmobile you can't afford? Safety first fellas, still fools a I see. And my sock money is in your LUNCH, beeotch. Proppa PH style. Get? Now go, drive a bit and let off some steam speedin down 4th while you still can, mommynommy.
May 23, 2013, 9:43 am
MTO from Bay Ridge says:
No, looks like they got you shim! Hah! That prep H helps you hide your lunch money.Makin believe you're a car,getting a lube job heh. Glad you ain't driving getting rear ended all the time!
May 23, 2013, 12:06 pm
Frank from Bensonhurst says:
Proppa PH style? Preparation H? She need something else cause it's not working on that AH. Her Cleavon ain,t Little.
May 23, 2013, 2:08 pm
Vito from Sheepshead says:
So, thats where he hides his lunch money. Little timmy tucker, one bad...shut your mawf.
May 23, 2013, 5:20 pm
Jim from Cobble HIll says:
If you're hitting 40mph on 4th ave, then it's too damn fast. I taught at Adalphi for a while and drivers treat it like a highway. It's not. If you want to gun it on your way to Home Depot or some other big-box store, just move to New Jersey!
May 23, 2013, 8:11 pm
John from Bay Ridge says:
Ignore MTO. He's off his meds again. In clear danger of walking in front of a speeding car on 4th Ave.
May 23, 2013, 9:21 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:

How do you "fix the timing of the lights" on a two way street?
May 24, 2013, 5:37 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Other Michael, I am all for that just as I am for enforcing the laws on jaywalking.
May 24, 2013, 5:13 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:

You can time the lights on a two way street.

and then you want to change the pedestrian culture of NYC.

Good luck with that.
May 24, 2013, 9:38 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Other Michael, please explain why jaywalking is a good thing despite the fact that it can actually place you into harm's way?
May 25, 2013, 4:38 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
First of all, I never said it is a good thing. I said it was part of the culture of NYC. Something you have proven to know noting about.

But often it is. It is often safer to cross in the middle of the block where there are no turning cars.
May 26, 2013, 9:02 pm
Ridger from Bay Ridge says:
The problem is that maniac drivers know the 68th turns a blind eye to traffic violations. I live on a one-way side street and crazed motorists come flying down this street to get to the highway continually honking their horns at other drivers to speed up to make the light. In addition to speeding motorists, I see cars with headlights out and windows tinted pitch black. If the cops only did their job, many of the dangers caused by these bad drivers could be eliminated.
May 27, 2013, 1:11 pm

Comments closed.

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