Park Slopers reject city plan for slower Fourth Avenue

No left turn bans: Community Board 6 rejected a new major city plan on Wednesday because it calls for the elimination of eight left turns along Fourth Avenue.
The Brooklyn Paper
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Members of a local panel reversed course and shot down a major city plan to slow traffic on a dangerous stretch of Fourth Avenue in Park Slope on Wednesday night, calling the proposal “radical” and “ridiculous.”

Community Board 6 voted 18 to 9 to reject a Department of Transporta­tion’s plan that would reduce the number of lanes from three to two in each direction of the speeding-prone boulevard in order make room for wider parking spaces and fatter pedestrian islands on a 28-block stretch between 15th Street to Atlantic Avenue.

Four members abstained from the vote, which flew in the face of the recommendation of the panel’s traffic experts, who unanimously approved the changes last month.

But some members reconsidered after concerned residents and the board’s transportation committee chairman Tom Miskel met with city officials and Councilman Brad Lander (D–Park Slope), demanding the city drop plans to ban left turns at Third and Ninth streets — something agency representatives refused to consider.

Hence, even Miskel changed his mind on the changes.

“We better understood the plan,” said Miskel, explaining his “No” vote.

If the plan comes to fruition, left turns would be banned for Bay Ridge-bound traffic at Dean Street, Third Street, Ninth Street, and 14th Street. Downtown-bound traffic would no longer be allowed to turn left onto Butler Street, Degraw Street, Eighth Street and 13th Street. At those intersections, the existing turning bays would become part of wider pedestrian islands — something some members of the board thought was too much.

“It’s a pretty radical solution to take away almost half of the turn lanes on a mile-long stretch of Fourth Avenue,” said CB6 member Matthew Silverman, who voted against the plan, at the public forum at John Jay High School.

The shocking vote was a complete turnaround from last month, when the committee signed off on the plan after a public hearing where Department of Transportation officials presented the plan. Most residents at that meeting applauded the plan, saying that Fourth Avenue needed to be made safer.

From 2007 to 2011, 53 people were killed or severely injured along the 1.4-mile stretch, according to the city.

But opponents said they fear the left turn bans, especially at Third and Ninth streets, would funnel traffic onto narrower thoroughfares such as Fifth, First, and Seventh streets, which they say would simply move the pedestrian dangers nearer to schools and playgrounds, not to mention increasing traffic congestion across the neighborhood.

“You have to take a left on Third Street and Ninth Street,” said James Bernard, a board member who lives in Park Slope, and made the motion to reject the entire plan.

“It’s ridiculous on its face to not utilize Third and Ninth [streets] when originally they were meant for increased traffic,” said Bernard, adding that those thoroughfares are wider than most. “All of those cars are going to go up those narrow streets.”

A group of Fifth Street residents who recently got wind of the proposal showed up to Wednesday’s meeting with signs urging the community board to vote against the redesign.

“We think it’s a bad idea,” said Sonya Baehr, one of the residents who also attended the meeting at Lander’s office.

The redesign is a response to resident complaints about speeding, narrow medians, double parking, and hazardous pedestrian conditions, which the city agency heard at a Feb. 12 public workshop in the neighborhood. Groups such as the Fourth Avenue Task Force and the Park Slope Civic Council’s Fourth on Fourth Avenue Committee have long pushed for safety enhancements along the thoroughfare.

CB6 members in favor of the plan were stunned by the rejection.

“Fourth Avenue is a dangerous place where you have people getting maimed and killed,” said transportation committee member Gary Reilly. “This is something that could have made it safer. I’m incredibly disappoint­ed.”

The community board vote is advisory, and the city can still move ahead with its plans.

Under the plan, only the Downtown-bound lanes from Union Street to Atlantic Avenue would retain the existing three-lanes.

The city also wants to add planters to the pedestrian island between Pacific Street and Atlantic Avenue, and to extend the curb on the corner of Pacific Street near the subway entrance.

At another public forum on Wednesday night, Community Board 2, which covers nearby Boerum Hill and Fort Greene, overwhelmingly endorsed the city’s plan with a unanimous vote of 27-0.

This isn’t the only stretch of Fourth Avenue up for a pedestrian-friendly makeover.

In Bay Ridge, Community Board 10 faced a similar dilemma as CB6, with vocal constituents blasting certain parts of the city’s plan after it was approved by the panel’s transportation committee. But instead of rejecting the entire proposal outright, CB10 voted on it piecemeal, approving most changes while voting down plans for a center island and pedestrian fencing at the 86th Street intersection.

Reach reporter Natalie Musumeci at or by calling (718) 260-4505. Follow her at
Updated 10:11 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Or from Yellow Hook says:
“Fourth Avenue is a dangerous place where you have people getting maimed and killed,” said transportation committee member Gary Reilly.

A line of paint will save your life!

Traffic lights were the original "traffic calming" device.

If only pedestrians would learn to use them.
June 14, 2013, 7:07 am
Me from Here says:
@ Yellow Hook: Traffic lights are not traffic calming devices, they are traffic control devices. Improperly timed and they can aggravate traffic, not calm it.
June 14, 2013, 8:08 am
Mike Curatore from Carroll Gardens says:
This seems unusual for CB6 which has been a strong advocate for bicycling expansions, alternative transportation and other sensible, if not cutting-edge, approaches to public space. Why would the Transportation Chair himself reject a plan that passed his own committee and claim ignorance? I smell a rat. Politics at its worst.
June 14, 2013, 8:16 am
VLM from Park Slope says:
Outrageous. A Community Board that does not speak for the community or even its own subcommittees. Not a single one of the people opposed to the calming measures could explain why either.
June 14, 2013, 8:18 am
diehipster from Destroying Dustins says:
It amazes me how so many clueless intruding yups don't even know how to cross a street; ride a bike; etc, without having to change laws and the way of life of real city people. Go back to Culdesacia, please.
June 14, 2013, 8:22 am
Park Slope Parent from 3rd St says:
Shame on Tom Miskel. Someone is going to get killed and I will be on CB6.
June 14, 2013, 8:24 am
Me from Bay Ridge says:
The avenue was widened in the 1960s to carry traffic towards the bridge. Why is this suddenly a problem?What has changed?
June 14, 2013, 8:31 am
Me from There says:
@diehipster: what are you talking about? Enough of the locals vs newcomer crap. Unless you're a Lenape Indian, I'm pretty sure you have nothing to add when it comes to judging people by what you speculate are their points of origin.
June 14, 2013, 8:37 am
Brian Van from Gramercy says:
@ Me from Bay Ridge:

It's always been a problem, it's just that no one in city politics or the media ever cared that Fourth Avenue was a terribly dangerous street to cross. It's now worse because cars accelerate faster, are heavier, and have better safety/control features for the driver... which in turn encourages driving behavior unfit for streets with pedestrians.

We know things about streets and traffic flows now that we didn't know in the 60's (in terms of widely accepted traffic design principles). The issues caused by completely eliminating left turn bays might be solvable with a slightly different design pattern. But in general, there won't be a problem by making the main traffic flows constrict to two lanes. There will be momentary incidents of inconvenience here and there. But it will be MUCH much safer for pedestrians, and the secondary benefits to that (savings on medical care by the state for indigent victims, increased business to the area by way of foot traffic, more community-friendly space for arts and social activities) outweigh any moments in which a small group of drivers are delayed by a double-parked vehicle. Two lanes is plenty enough for the avenue; I've never seen cars lined up at any of the lights more than 1 or 2 deep. And if it encourages use of the area's expressways more, all the better. I don't think anyone from Bay Ridge is going to slog up Seventh Avenue as a secondary option from Fourth...
June 14, 2013, 8:39 am
Gary Reilly from Carroll Gardens says:
"Traffic lights were the original "traffic calming" device.

If only pedestrians would learn to use them."

If you had had any involvement in the issue whatsoever, you would know that a big issue is that pedestrians are getting struck in marked crosswalks while they have a walk signal.
June 14, 2013, 8:42 am
Scott from Park Slope says:
Diehipster, we're the locals here, and don't need some clueless interloper wannabe from Bay Ridge to tell us what to do in our neighborhood. So take your bearded, skinny-jean wearing 'tude back to your bungalow in Shut-the-Hell-Up-iya.

See how that works? Get a life, you pansy.
June 14, 2013, 8:43 am
Sheryl from Carroll and 4th says:
My grandmother is 86 years old. She can not make it across this six-lane highway in 45 seconds. I am ashamed of CB6 for maintaining this dangerous road as is. Who can we contact to get rid of the leadership that allowed this to happen after so much publi input and community support? They do not represent the neighborhood and must be replaced.
June 14, 2013, 8:49 am
Scott from Park Slope says:
Fourth Avenue is a necessary thoroughfare, but there's no reason it has to be a high-speed, dangerous road. If you want to drive at highway speeds, drive on the highway. With all the new residential high-rises built along it, and the new schools, and the increased foot traffic they bring it's important to slow things down and make it safer for pedestrians. If the left-hand turning bays have to go to make that happen, so be it. It's not like drivers know how to use them anyway, since they always manage to hang the tail of their cars out into onrushing lanes; it backs up traffic behind them and renders the existence of the turning bays moot.
June 14, 2013, 8:54 am
Or from Yellow Hook says:
If pedestrians are stuck in a crosswalk change the timing of the lights.
June 14, 2013, 8:55 am
ty from pps says:
Remember when (2007) the world was going to end because of the "road diet" on 9th Street in Park Slope? The road was reduced to half as many lanes.... and guess what? It WORKS. The world didn't end. It improved.
June 14, 2013, 8:59 am
Greg W from Fourth Avenue says:
Clean out the community board from top to bottom and replace them with people who care about people not dying. Fourth Avenue is one of the most dangerous streets in Brooklyn! What is wrong with them?!?!?
June 14, 2013, 9:06 am
Lefty says:
Community Board 2 voted on this proposal on the same night. What was their decision? Or doesn't the Brooklyn Paper cover them? Sloppy reporting, but that seems to be the norm here.
June 14, 2013, 9:11 am
Brooklynite from Park Slope says:
“It’s ridiculous on its face to not utilize Third and Ninth [streets] when originally they were meant for increased traffic,” said Bernard, adding that those thoroughfares are wider than most.

Ummm, no. Those streets were originally meant for trolleys. Motor vehicles didn't even exist when they were planned and designed.
June 14, 2013, 9:14 am
common sense from bay ridge says:
Here is a possible compromise, keep 4th Ave the way it is, and line it from end to end with speeding cameras.

June 14, 2013, 9:16 am
Brooklynite from Park Slope says:
How is it possible that Tom Miskel is still Chair of CB6's transportation committee? Hasn't he been doing that job, in one form of another, since the '80s? What is this, the Supreme Court? Lifetime appointments? Tom does not understand or represent the interests of the many young families who now live on either side of 4th Avenue. This decision clearly suggests that it is time for him to go.
June 14, 2013, 9:19 am
Brooklynite from Park Slope says:
Miskel and that gang of old-timers were also deeply opposed to the road diet on 9th Street. They said it would be a total disaster, etc. etc. They cared more about not being allowed to double-park and make u-turns than the fact that four of their neighbors had been killed on 9th Street in the previous three years, including a 77-yo woman and a pair of grade schoolers. Yes: Four people killed on 9th Street. Miskel and friends cared more about parking.

All their doom-and-gloom predictions turned out to be wrong on 9th Street. There haven't been any fatalities since the redesign. Screw these horrible NIMBY's. People's lives are at stake.
June 14, 2013, 9:23 am
Commenter from Carroll Gardens says:
I agree this community board needs to be cleaned out. Many of them vote their own interests and agendas with little regard for the community. This is speculation, but I would not be surprised if votes were changed because the new plan would result in increased traffic on side streets where Community Board 6 members/ their friends reside.

Community Board 6 has a history of committee members changing how they vote at general meetings. They did this with the Lightstone project. There needs to be another purge.

I hope this paper reports on how community board 2 voted.
June 14, 2013, 9:36 am
sid from boerum hill says:
CB #2 approved its part of the plan. I agree that if everyone followed the law, pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers the roads would be safer. I have lived in downtown Brooklyn for over 30 years and the streets are more dangerous now. Three times in the last two weeks I have seen drivers stop and then drive right through red lights in this neighborhood. I guess the bicyclists have taught the drivers something. I also saw the same thing in Manhattan- two cars right in front of a police car! The PD did nothing
Most pedestrians are killed mid block or standing in the street(when trucks turn they need to come close to the corner)- when vehicles have the right of way...How many times do you see someone with a stroller pushing it in front against the light in the street testing traffic...
June 14, 2013, 9:41 am
Parent from The wrong side of 4th Ave says:
So a few people on 5th Street don't want a few cars coming up their street every few minutes and they put the kibosh on a plan with massive community support.

Meanwhile, 4th Avenue remains a deathtrap with the majority of drivers speeding and weaving in and out of traffic and around double parked cars and running red lights.

To get from one side to another, you have to cross eight lanes (two parking lanes and six moving lanes) in under a minute. Good luck doing that if you're old, injured or pushing a stroller and holding a toddler's hand. Good luck if you're taking your kids to PS 133, PS 118 or JJ Byrne Park. The wealthy people of the right side of Fourth Avenue don't care if you have to cross this drag strip.

4th Avenue is growing as a residential street. The subway stops at Union St and 9th Street teem with people crossing the street. Is avoiding the occasional annoyance of ten people on 5th Street more important than preventing injury and death?

Shame shame shame on this community board. Shame on Tom Miskel, whoever he thinks he is.

DOT, please listen to the community and NOT the community board.
June 14, 2013, 10:09 am
Brooklyn Red from 4th ave says:
Sadly, most of the Bd members who voted against the proposal freely admitted that they had not even seen it or known about it before the meeting. And, the way the meeting was structured, only board members could comment on the plan, so there was no chance to answer questions about it. Focusing on left hand turns really ended up throwing the baby out with the bathwater. CB 6 has abdicated a role in bringing safety to 4th Ave - terribly disappointing to those of us who have been working on this project for over a year
June 14, 2013, 10:46 am
Another Parent from The Wrong Side of Fourth Avenue says:
I was at the transportation meeting where they voted to approve this plan and I'm aghast that Tom Miskel would drop his support. Mr. Miskel should resign now. He clearly does not represent the neighborhood, and has now shown that he can't even do the job of representing his committee.

DOT, if you're reading this, don't listen to CB6! We had many meetings where people could put in suggestions. Were any of the CB6 Members at any of those meetings? No. They know nothing about the plan, and should therefore have no influence.
June 14, 2013, 10:52 am
Alex from Gowanus says:
Read this letter from Daniel Kummer and see if he represents your family's best interests and safety.

Or maybe he just represents a few drivers.
June 14, 2013, 11:47 am
o3 from bk says:
eliminate the left turn LANES but keep left turns.

that way 4th will jam-up & slow the traffic just like GOD intended.

remember Jesus was a pedestrian.
June 14, 2013, 12:10 pm
Jason from Park Slope says:
The DOT plan was HIGHLY flawed.

While most people supported the plan to slow traffic on 4th Ave, the plan to ban South-Bound left turns at all the various places on 4th Avenue was moronic.

Specifically, the plan to ban left turns at 3rd street would have redirected traffic to 1st street and 5th Street - A narrow high student & pedestrian traffic street with 2 large condos with street level retail, 3 schools, 2 daycares, a skate park, 2 ambulatory centers, doctors offices and a hospital.

The left turn ban at 9th street would have eliminated a main truck route sending trucks all over the residential blocks in our neighborhood.

DOT officials, who don't live in our neighborhood, must not have realized that Union, 3rd St and 9th St are the main East/West arteries in our area.

The DOT plan cared only about 4th ave at the expense of Park Slopes Blocks and this was unacceptable.

No sense in addressing one set of problems by creating an entire slew of new worse ones.
June 14, 2013, 12:52 pm
bob from Windsor Terrace says:
Time the lights properly, have the PD out there writing tickets. Problem solved.
June 14, 2013, 1:10 pm
Community member says:
Jason, were you at any of the community workshops or CB6 transportation committee meeting at which DOT made its presentation? I was.

Banning left turns at certain intersections would have only redirected approximately 1 - 2 cars per light cycle to other streets. It's barely something anyone would notice.

Some of the left turn bans were meant to keep cars from turning into intersections where children cross to get to school or where pedestrians cross to access the subway. With no mezzanine or middle platform, the R stop at Union Street requires people to cross 4th Avenue during one part of their commute.

At 9th Street, counts showed that only about 50 cars were turning left every hour during peak times. Yet approximately 700 pedestrians were crossing the street.

And while 5th Street has "2 large condos with street level retail, 3 schools, 2 daycares, a skate park, 2 ambulatory centers, doctors offices and a hospital," Fourth Avenue has seven public schools, including the new PS 133 and PS 118, many day care centers, a park, medical offices, and apartments and condos occupied by thousands of people. Many more high-rise buildings are opening in the next two years.

By turning down the plan based no false fears of traffic and a few bicycle corrals, Daniel Kummer and Tom Miskel threw the baby out with the bathwater.

Fourth Avenue is among the top 10% of most dangerous streets in all of Brooklyn. Thanks to the selfishness of Community Board Six, it will stay that way.
June 14, 2013, 1:11 pm
BikeLaneLover from Park Slope says:
Those who are bashing Tom Miskel do so highly unfairly. Tom was keenly aware of the flaws of this plan and did the right thing. Tom is to be commended.

When the transportation committee voted, no one from the neighborhood was at the meeting and no one in the neighborhood knew the specifics of the proposed plan - specifically all the left turn bans.

Once the neighborhood caught wind of all the left turn bans (only after the CB6 transportation committee vote) massive opposition materialized.

Residents of 4th Ave, 1st street, 3rd street, 5th street, 7th street, 8th street and 9th street as well as Old Stone House and the principal of MS 51 were included amongst those that opposed the left turn bans. Also opposed were child-safety advocates from daycare centers, schools, MS51 Parents & PTA members.

No one from Methodist hospital was even briefed on the plan.

The DOT plan is positive, but with all the left turn bans (which, incidentally, speed traffic - they don't slow traffic) it was premature and not passable.

Many alternatives to left-turn bans are available that would have addressed everyone's concerns that DOT refused to consider.

The current DOT plan should not have passed, and it didn't. DOT needs to strip the left turn bans from the plan and try again.
June 14, 2013, 1:23 pm
Community Member says:
4th Ave is no picnic it's true, but it's also Brooklyn's longest roadway (or one of them) so of course it will have the most accidents - This makes sense. When measured per-capita (car or pedestrian) or per-mile, I've seen no data that suggests that it has the highest rate of accidents.

Since the neckdowns and countown timers were installed, 4th ave is much safer (for pedestrians).

Many of the draconian measures DOT was proposing, including the left-turn bans were simply unnecessary, unsafe and unwise.
June 14, 2013, 1:46 pm
Brooklyn Red from 4th Avenue says:
BikeLaneLover - Please - I could truthfully state that residents from 4th Ave, and dozens of cross streets were in favor of the plan (and I have the meeting attendance sheets to prove it), as well as teachers and parents from schools up and down 4th Ave. It is totally unhelpful to start making specious claims about what "the neighborhood" wanted. What truly puzzles me is the conspiratorial tone of "when the neighborhood caught wind of", as if a year of discussions about 4th Avenue had taken place in some hidden corner. Meetings were announced in this paper, plus on at least a dozen area blogs - I'm honestly stumped to figure out what needs to be done to get people involved in community discussions in a way that can avoid dive bombing a plan at the last minute. (I also didn't see any posts on the DOT website about concerns with left hand turns restrictions)
June 14, 2013, 2 pm
John Wasserman from Windsor Terrace says:
John Wasserman here. I have to ask: Just what is so great about turning left, anyway? Can someone please explain this to me, because I having trouble understanding this one. Thank you.
June 14, 2013, 2:08 pm
Me from Everywhere says:
Opponents: leave traffic engineering to the experts. You guys are foolish know-nothings who base all your criticisms of DOT on anecdotal observations.
June 14, 2013, 3:18 pm
Butler St from Brooklyn says:
"When the transportation committee voted, no one from the neighborhood was at the meeting and no one in the neighborhood knew the specifics of the proposed plan - specifically all the left turn bans."

This is patently false.

The room was packed with Fourth Avenue residents, and residents from many side streets in Park Slope, Gowanus, and Boerum Hill.

It sounds like YOU weren't there, which is why you are upset.

The principals of PS 133 and 118 are in favor of the plan and were briefed extensively. I'm not sure what weight one should give to the principal of MS 51, one avenue away, but surely it should be slightly less than what is given to school administrators along this speedway.

Tom Miskel did the wrong thing, especially after he and his committee voted for this plan.

I don't know if you usually comment under the name BikeLaneLover, but please be aware that bike lanes are not part of this plan. This is a pedestrian safety program meant to save life and limb.

CB6 did the wrong thing here, and delayed a project as the clock ticks down to a new school year.

Shame on them.
June 14, 2013, 3:22 pm
Butler St from Brooklyn says:

Here's a story about one of those so-called secret meetings at which no local residents were present.
June 14, 2013, 3:28 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I find this such an irony coming from you guys. When the community boards agree with you, I know some of you will start to praise and bow down to them. However, when they disagree and strike something that you like down, you either believe that there is something wrong with the system or that some unknown forces took over that day. Personally, I am glad that they saw JSK for who she really was and went up against it. BTW, don't even think about taking out pitchforks and torches and demanding that Tom Miskel be burned to the stake, because that will be seen as murder. As for the decisions on banning left turns there, just think about it as eliminating more efficient routes that create straight lines. Having these make it easier to make a left turn on a street like this, and I feel that every two way street in NYC should have left turn signals on traffic lights, which is why I try to avoid so many of them because of them not being there. Getting rid of them will force others to go almost in a circle to get from point A to point B. Just think of it as this, "Why circle around South America when you can just use the Panama Canal?"
June 14, 2013, 3:42 pm
4th Ave resident from Boerum Hill says:
There were many community meetings and DOT workshops about this issue over the past year and more with scores of attendees. So many people were in support of traffic calming and improved safety on 4th Ave that it seemed a no-brainer.

I was at the CB6 Transportation subcommittee meeting; issues were discussed, data presented and the resolution passed overwhelmingly. It seems suspect to me that Tom Miskel would hold his tongue at that meeting and then torpedo the plan at the last minute with "community support" that came out of nowhere against the plan. If so many full Board members had concerns about the plan, why didn't they show up at the subcommittee meeting or previous DOT info sessions? They would have fight for their own interests that actually represent the community. Clearly here, a few people have voted against the broader will of the community.

I find it hard to believe that Park Slope is the only neighborhood along 4th Ave, from Bay Ridge to Atlantic Ave, to take a stance *against* safety on 4th Ave.
June 14, 2013, 3:42 pm
Park Sloper says:
Some here are unfairly misconstruing the facts.

Though many are opposed to the left-turn bans, none are opposed to better safety as well as calmer more well-organized traffic flow along 4th Avenue. On this everyone can agree.

If DOT were to eliminate left-turn bans and implement any one of the myriad alternatives, we'd have a proposal that would pass tomorrow.

No one on these boards should disparage anyone. We're all in agreement on the "what," while only in slight disagreement on the 'how.'
June 14, 2013, 4:07 pm
Reader from 4th Ave says:
Park Sloper and Tal Barlizai of Pleasantville, NY joining the comment thread means the conversation has passed the point of all usefulness.

Direct your complaints to:

You can also tweet to @BrooklynCB6 or leave a comment at
June 14, 2013, 4:31 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Some here sure know how to dish criticism, but just don't know how to take it. Just because there are those against making roads to your liking, doesn't always mean that they are against safety altogether, they just feel that there are possibly more sensible ways to make it safer. I still don't get why there are those who choose to jaywalk on a major thoroughfare when they know that there is a lot of traffic there. BTW, the opposition to this was very much homegrown, so it wasn't just the community board members who hated it. Seriously, a lot of you really do need to chill on this. You all had your say on this while Miskel had his. Making personal attacks on someone on a faceless message board isn't going to help you in anything, just show hostile some of you really are. On a side note, Reader's comment was very insulting and should apologize for such acting in such a manner.
June 14, 2013, 4:54 pm
ty from pps says:
BikeLaneLove -- "No one from Methodist hospital was even briefed on the plan."

What? What does this have to do with anything...?! Because left-turns on 4th avenue will interfere with the activities on 7th and 8th avenues?!

Probably should have had NYU Medical Center at the briefing table too, eh?
June 14, 2013, 5:47 pm
ty from pps says:
By the way... Thanks Tal for making sure we got out daily dose of stupid. Now go help your mom clean the dishes.
June 14, 2013, 5:48 pm
BigAnt from Park slope says:
Banning left turns on 3rd and 9th street makes no sense since both those streets have bridges over the canal. Banning the turns would force vehicles seeking access to areas west of the canal to maneuver through multiple turns which creates more danger for pedestrians especially when you factor in trucks.
June 14, 2013, 6:22 pm
common sense from bay ridge says:
@JohnWasserman: The best thing about turning left is getting to watch Rachel Maddow.
June 14, 2013, 7:09 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
I would really like to know why Lander and Miskal voted against this.

and Tal, Have you driven on Flatbush Ave between Grand Army Plaza and the Manhattan Bridge lately. (I guess not) but there are very few places to make a left there and traffic moves much better than before.

The left turn bays on 4th Ave get backed up into the traffic lane all the time and that is why there are traffic jams.
June 14, 2013, 7:15 pm
TOM MURPHY from Sunset Park says:
Now, as this author implies, it remains for DOT to cast aside this advisory vote and proceed as they want. Such was the case when Manhattan's Community Board #10(Central Harlem) rejected their redesign of Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard. It just didn't make any sense to the locals, even after modifications; therefore, they voted it down.
June 14, 2013, 8:36 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Other Michael, I have been on 4th Avenue about a month ago, and I didn't see any problems with the left turn bays there. Perhaps, you are just talking about rush hour traffic, because other than that, it doesn't seem to be a problem. As I have said before, left turn bays are the only safe ways to make left turns on two way streets in NYC, because you have to wait for the traffic going straight to pass by, and that can take a while compared to making a right turn, though in NYC, no turns are allowed on a red light to begin even if it is a right turn. As for Flatbush Avenue, there are still places either way where left turns are allowed, and I know that by taking it down when coming in via the Manhattan Bridge, though the stretch before Fulton Street is actually Flatbush Avenue Extension and isn't part of it at all. On a side note, other wide roads such as Queens Boulevard and Grand Concourse have a number of left turn bays, and they don't seem to be problems. It would be nice if Broadway after Columbus Circle had left turn bays (96th Street is one of the few that does) or even Houston Street, which has almost none. As a matter of fact, I find it annoying when making a left turn on Park Avenue, I still have to stop for the red light at the mall and it can only hold two cars there at best, so I would have to be waiting at the intersection to avoid blocking the intersection. Overall, getting rid of the left turn bays on 4th Avenue along with any other traffic calming will really make matters worse rather than better when it will cause more traffic that it will create.
June 14, 2013, 9:06 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
Tal really said "left turn bays are the only safe ways to make left turns on two way streets in NYC" because you have to wait less? What? What are you talking about.

Wow. so crossing oncoming traffic that has the right if way is safe. Not so much.

and on Flatubush ave there are less places to make a left, just as the plan is on 4th Ave. and traffic flows better because of it.

Now Tal, go down to the mall parking lot and tell them how to paint the lines.
June 15, 2013, 3:46 am
Mark from 4th says:
This community board needs to be replaced. The council people too. I'll think about that every time I cross this highway, which is every day with my kid.
June 15, 2013, 7:47 am
Resident from 4th Ave says:
By all means, let's leave the highway that runs through our neighborhood exactly as it is because Tal Barzilai may need to drive through it as many times as once a month.

Please, CB6, do it for Tal!
June 15, 2013, 2:15 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
Hey Tal

How many cars can fit in each left turn lane between 9th st and Atlantic?.
June 15, 2013, 2:27 pm
old time brooklyn from slope says:
Women driving is a shanda!!! - so immodest the husbands are shamed
June 15, 2013, 3:28 pm
Walkabout from Park Slope says:
CB6 acted with courage. DOT would not consider fixing an obvious flaw in their plan, so CB6 had to call them on it. How else to get their attention? Their proposal is to send left-turning traffic onto a narrow street next to a school and hospital while banning it along one of the widest streets in the area without those dangerous conditions. DOT blew it. They had every opportunity to create a good plan, but instead they created one that had some problems, and then expected everyone to let them have their way because they supposedly know better. Now they should make a few small adjustments they did not want to consider before, and resubmit the plan. They will get a different reception in CB6 and the community if they showed a little flexibility and understanding instead of truculence and arrogance. DOT is the bad actor in all this. CB6 are the good guys standing up to them. All respect to Tom Miskel and CB6 for doing what is right. Oh, and other CBs in Brooklyn better take another look at the fine print in the plan they approved. CB6 may have done them a favor too.
June 15, 2013, 4:14 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
For the record, I have been to Park Slope numerous times in the last couple of years especially when they held AY related events there, which is pretty much what brought me there for the first time. I have actually went on 4th Avenue and never saw any actual problems there. Being a major thoroughfare, they shouldn't be slowing traffic by reducing travel lanes, which will actually make it worse rather than better. Miskel and the rest of the community board wasn't against this by being against safety, they were against the plan, because they saw it as being flawed. Keep in mind that 9th Street is the only street in the neighborhood that allows for commercial traffic, and by denying the left turn for trucks going southbound, it will force them to use the streets that aren't made for them, which will cause even more traffic. As for mentioning the other wide boulevards in NYC, I only gave a few yesterday, and there are many others I can give that have left turn bays that don't seem to be problems. Honestly, I find it annoying to have to wait until the red light comes up while waiting in the intersection just to make the turn, because I can't be there blocking it, which is the very reason why the special left turn signal makes it a lot easier and safer to make a left turn on a busy street without feeling hindered by the traffic. Overall, you guys just loss, and like all other anti-car fanatics and bike zealots, you feel that forces unknown control community boards, but when you win, you feel that you have friends in high places.
June 15, 2013, 4:42 pm
Involved from Park Slope says:
Walkabout, did you attend any of the many community meetings held over the past year to bring up any of these concerns or did you just drop in at the last minute and talk to Tom Miskel?

You are the bad actor in this. And you should be ashamed.

When someone dies on 4th Avenue, we'll remember the residents of 5th Street.
June 15, 2013, 4:59 pm
ty from pps says:
Wait! SEVERAL TIMES in the last few years!?!?!

Well, Tal, in that case...
June 15, 2013, 5:53 pm
s from ppw says:
The elderly woman who was killed on 9th Street a number of years ago. Was she an anti-car fanatic?
June 15, 2013, 6:21 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
By anti-car fanatics, I am talking about you guys, especially those that hang out on websites such as Streetsblog, which has a history of hating anyone who uses a car even if it's one's only mean of transportation. Nobody will argue about the accident, but I feel that you are only looking at the effects rather than the causes. I wouldn't be surprised if that said person was jaywalking and will be called on martyr on Streetsblog for acting in such a way. Ironically, I never hear on outcry when a cyclist injures somebody over on Streetsblog as they are just buried or never go mentioned there, because the agenda is always that cars are bad and bicycles are always good. On a side note, there is a criminal who is doing drive by shootings on a bicycle, and I knew a day like that will come, but Streetsblog will probably never mention that.
June 15, 2013, 7:27 pm
Resident from 4th Avenue says:
Tal, I live on 4th Ave, I own a car and drive it for work five days a week and I'm in favor of DOT's plan for 4th Avenue.

Please go away.
June 15, 2013, 8 pm
4th Ave Lover from Park Slope says:
Here, Here Walkabout.

Totally Agree. DOT = Arrogant Bad Guys.
June 15, 2013, 8:11 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:

It is ok to be ignorant about how traffic flows on 4th Ave.. Most of he worlds population is. You are too.

So let me explain some things to you.

First, you should know that the left turn bays on 4th ave only hold 1 car. They can't be made bigger because of the subway vents.

Second, one can rarely make a left when the light is green because there is usually oncoming traffic.

Therefore, left turns on 4th cause traffic backups.

So, if all you care about is "commercial traffic" you should be for this plan.

But, Tal, what the hell are you talking about when you say " Keep in mind that 9th Street is the only street in the neighborhood that allows for commercial traffic"? Are you referring to Truck Routes. 9th St is not a Truck Route and neither is 4th Ave.

People live on these streets. You would know that if you did more than visit for your AY event.

Removing some of the left turns form 4th Ave might add a minute to my drive sometimes. I can live with that.

Did you hear that, TOM and BRAD? I can live with adding a minute to my drive home. But my kids might not if they have to keep walking across a race track to get to school.
June 16, 2013, 6:22 am
4th Ave Expert from Park Slope says:
Other Michael:

Your map at

specifically indicates that both 4th Ave and 9th Street are indeed Truck routes. (Blue Lines). Did you read it carefully?

Also: The left turn bays on 4th Ave in Park Slope hold more than 1 car. They hold between 2-5 cars depending on size of car, which intersection, distance between cars and position of the 1st car in the turning lane. According to the DOTs own stats, these are already large enough to accommodate the amount of cars wishing to turn left off of 4th Ave. at 9th St and 3rd St. So according to their own data, they wouldn't even need to enlarge them. This was one of the inconsistencies noted in DOTs own data and logic behind their plan.

Next: A vent in the median shouldn't prevent DOT from expanding a turn bay. A single vent here or there out of the entire subway system wouldn't be missed can and can be easily removed and replaced with an enlarged turn bay. Simple.

Also: Medians can be shortened to expand turning radii.

So, many options/ alternatives that are win-win and that satisfy all parties are possible. DOT just needs to open their minds a little.

June 16, 2013, 12:14 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Thank you 4th Avenue Expert for explaining that because that is true. I really don't get how the subway vents will affect expanding a left turn bay when they are underground to begin with, so I don't see how they will be affected by this. Let's not forget that DOT does have a history of fudging, which does bring a lot of what they give into question. Seriously, I do feel that there should be a need for left turn bays or at least just left turn signals at all two streets, because it makes turning left there a lot easier with that green arrow. If the left turn bay just took up the entire block rather than just part of it, there wouldn't be much of a need to merge, plus the only way a left turn bay could hold only one car was if that car happened to be a stretch limo, because even an SUV or Hummer couldn't take up that much space despite their widths.
June 16, 2013, 1:21 pm
4th Resident from Brooklyn says:
"I really don't get how the subway vents will affect expanding a left turn bay when they are underground to begin with, so I don't see how they will be affected by this."

Well, argument over then!
June 16, 2013, 1:29 pm
ty from pps says:
Wow... a whole lot of dumb going on here.
June 16, 2013, 2:04 pm
Tal Barzilay from Pleasantville, NY says:
Ty, if you have nothing to actually contribute to the discussion, then just stop rather than acting like a hater.
June 16, 2013, 2:13 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
Thanks Expert I was looking at the other end of 4th Ave. and 9th St going towards Park Slope.

But those subway vents are raised to keep flood waters out. They wont work if we raise the road.

This holds 1 car. The second will block traffic ave and 9th street brooklyn&ll=40.670377,-73.988789&spn=0.000563,0.001206&hnear=4th Ave %26 9th St, Brooklyn, Kings, New York 11215&gl=us&t=h&z=20

this hold 2, the third sticks out. ave and 9th street brooklyn&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x89c25afc75d13ba7:0x551e5cc4d88145eb,4th Ave %26 9th St, Brooklyn, NY 11215&gl=us&ei=cEK-Ua7qB7i24AOPuoGQDw&ved=0CDwQ8gEwAA
June 16, 2013, 5:58 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
and Tal

have you ever actually tried to walk across 4th Ave?

My kids do it 10 times a week.
June 16, 2013, 6 pm
ty from pps says:
Tal -- You haven't contributed anything in YEARS!! Why don't you take your own advice!?

Tal, if you have nothing to actually contribute to the discussion, then just stop rather than acting like a ignorant dummy.
June 16, 2013, 6:15 pm
TOM MURPHY from Sunset Park says:
For the record: Regarding turn bays, the roadway in the intersection is the "turn pit". A driver can and should sit there until an opening appears, and then turn. Even when the traffic light has turned RED. It's legal.
The indented "turn bay" preceding the intersection holds turning vehicles that may NOT proceed when the light is RED, only with the GREEN, and legal. NYC DOT seems to consolidate the two terms when it serves their purposes.
DOT has eliminated "left-turns" on 4th Avenue specifically to quicken the THROUGH traffic. Turning traffic slows the speeders. Their "road diet" will not work without this accommodation, but it wipes out local street access and mobility. Sunset Park & Bay Ridge traffic will gain as Park Slope loses. This is true also for Sunset Park's two-mile stretch. Commuters going to/coming from the VN Bridge or the Belt Parkway are the winners. Not us locals.
BTW: The ventilation shafts belong to the MTA, they are a no-go area for DOT. They were installed around 1914 for venting the subway and raised in the '50's to prevent water splashing on the electrical equipment between stations. They stay as is.
A clear majority of Community Board #6 members has recognized what I could not convince CB#7 of: DOT's plan is not a plan but an experiment. Nothing permanent, just plastic & paint. It could be made safer for pedestrians, but DOT followed its agenda and chose otherwise.
Bikers were always to be directed to 3rd & 5th Avenues. There's too much truck traffic on 4th for bikes. They are overly vulnerable there.
The real goal of DOT is to surreptitiously frustrate traffic and parking, and sneak in bike lanes ('faux' at the right & 'express' on the left at the median). This approach is ideological in nature--per Jon Gehl of Copenhagen. Don't know him? Both Comm Sadik-Khan(DOT) and Comm. Amanda Burden(CPC) do. He has also made a bit of NYC taxpayers money off that familiarity.
Again Sunset Park has been sacrificed but Park Slope has prospered by our early experience. Sort of reminds one of the Gowanus Expressway actuality teaching Jane Jacobs and Greenwich Village of what to really expect from Robert Moses & LOMEX.
Now: Will DOT listen?

Since 4th Avenue was incorporated into the Federal Highway System last October as part of the Transportation Act(MAP-21) changes to capacity and lane widths require approval of the US FHA. Guidelines are pending, and will be still pending when a new act comes up in 2014. Good luck at that.
June 16, 2013, 7:49 pm
johnny ives from city hall, ca says:
streetsblog p.o.s.
June 16, 2013, 8:07 pm
Resident from Fourth Avenue says:
Tom Murphy, the fact that you couldn't convince people on CB7, of all places, to go against DOT's recommended plan, shows you how wrong you are.

Your effort to preserve your driving privilege at the expense of the safety of the majority of people who walk in New York City is failing.
June 16, 2013, 8:52 pm
Local from Right Here says:
How dare you car owners think you can pollute our air and run us over with no regard while traveling to your Bay Ridge hellhole. Take your killing machines to Long Island where you belong. Your time here is over.

Ban private ownership of cars in NYC now. Stop with the passive aggressive frustrating of drivers and do what needs to be done. Before more innocent people are killed.
June 16, 2013, 10:29 pm
Carl from 4th and 5th says:
Clean house at CB 6. And then make the street safer like the community wants.
June 17, 2013, 7:23 am
Or from Yellow Hook says:
They have seen the future, and when it became the present, they saw it didn't work.

And 60 replies say Try it again! Try it again!
June 17, 2013, 7:49 am
Adamben from Bedstuy says:
Teach pedestrians to not cross against the light and put red light/speed cameras up. Problem solved!
June 17, 2013, 8:45 am
Alex H. from 4th Ave says:
I went to two presentations from DOT and the transportation committee meeting. And then a few people on the board said FU and voted this plan down entirely.

Why did my community board ignore me and my neighbors who worked so long to do something about this dangerous street!?!?!

I live on 4th Avenue and my kids are going to 118 in the fall.

I hope Brad Lander is listening. I will actively vote against any politician who does not fix this NOW.
June 17, 2013, 9:29 am
Johnny from Park Slope says:
Those idiots who do not like the vote. Move to Bloomturds mansion. You dumb people. JSK should go to hell as well.
June 17, 2013, 11:27 am
Johnny from Park Slope says:
Brad Lander is a lazy bum pol. He wont overturn the ruling of CB
June 17, 2013, 11:28 am
ty from pps says:
Johnny -- that is some of the more irrational comments in this thread. If it weren't for "Bloomturd" and "JSK," these things sort of street safety measures wouldn't even get to be heard by the Community Board.
June 17, 2013, 12:19 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Ty and Other Michael, I resent the tenor of your attacks against me and for presuming I have never been to fourth avenue when in fact I have and so my perspective is every bit as worthy, and arguably much more so, than you're perspectives. In fact, I walked across the avenue a few years ago to pick up a pizza. What I don't understand is how you could advocate slowing down when this will only lead to congestion and further inconvenience the driving, tax-paying silent majority who have to work every day in favor of the shirking bike zealouts of streetsblogger and Mark Groton. This debunking cannot be undisproven.
June 18, 2013, 1:57 pm
BikeLaneLover from Park Slope says:
Whether or not you agree with the CB6 "NO vote" to the DOT proposal, I certainly hope you join me in wishing that DOT does not, under any circumstance, proceed with its ill-fated against the wishes of the community. (unless they amend it first)

Can you image what kind of precedent this will set?

Even if you agree with DOT on this one, you will likely disagree with the next DOT, or DOE or other City Agency Plan that tries to ram some agenda down our throats...

I hope they listen to the people and respect the CB6 no vote
June 18, 2013, 3:09 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
First off, cut the impersonation ty, and I wasn't even hear at 2:57 PM, because I din't even leave my job until 3 PM, and I would like to know where you were at that time. Getting back to the subject, if either Bloomberg, JSK, or even Landers overturn what the community board members said, it can have a negative impact. By that, I am referring to the community boards and those who attend them by feeling that their input will mean nothing, because they can easily be bypassed or sidestepped if they disagree. Also, it will make them feel that the mayor and their cronies are acting like dictators in acting as if only what they like can go around while silencing others. Overall, nobody is against safety, just against the way it was being implemented, plus much of what JSK seems to want feels very short term rather than long term.
June 18, 2013, 3:17 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:

In this case the Community Board voted against "those who attend them". The point is that we are waiting for an explanation.

and how can you say "Overall, nobody is against safety," YOU ARE! You are continually advocating for things that will make it less safe for my family in the name of your confused view of transportation needs in Brooklyn.
June 19, 2013, 2:08 pm
Jason Taite from Park Slope says:
I really hope that DOT doesn't implement its plan for the 4th Avenue left turn bans without making the requested amendments first.

This would be an awful, awful precedent to set.

What would be the point then of having community boards?
June 19, 2013, 3:59 pm

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