Closing Bell: Community Board Approval for 4th Avenue

The Brooklyn Paper outlined the Department of Transportation’s plans for safety improvements along the northern end of 4th Avenue, a 28-block strip from Atlantic to 15th Street. Community Board Six’s Transportation Committee just approved the proposal, and it will move to the full board next month. The plan — long in the works with the community — will shrink traffic lanes, ban eight left turns near playgrounds and schools, broaden medians from two feet to six feet, add planters to the pedestrian island between Pacific Street and Atlantic Avenue, and extend the curb on the corner of Pacific Street, right at the subway entrance. DOT also plans to install on-street bike corrals down the avenue, as well as Muni-Metered parking. This proposal is part of a huge 4th Avenue overall upgrade taken on by the DOT — they’ve enacted similar street changes in Sunset Park and are moving forward with improvements in Bay Ridge.
More Room for People, Less for Cars on Fourth Avenue in Slope [Brooklyn Paper]
Photo by the DOT, via the Brooklyn Paper

18 Comment

  • leave it the way it is. 4th has been like this for decades, now they want to change it.???

    It is a major traffic artery, not a little side street to go prancing around on….

    if people paid more attention crossing 4th, rather than talk on a cell, or fail to look both ways, then accidents happen.

    • so is there a period of time of something sucking where it doesn’t suck anymore?

    • “4th has been like this for decades, now they want to change it.???”
      That makes absolutely no sense. Based on this thinking, why make any improvements ever?
      “It is a major traffic artery, not a little side street to go prancing around on….”
      I don’t know about prancing, but what about walking? Either down the avenue or to cross it?

      • I believe stargazer covered what with “instead of talking on a cell or fail to look both ways.”
        After Emperor Bloomberg and Traffic Nazi Khan are gone, it will cost a fortune to correct all their grand mistakes …. er, plans.

        • Yes, because we all know that if a vehicle hits a pedestrian, it must be the pedestrian’s fault. Couldn’t possibly be because a driver was speeding, talking on a cell, or failing to look.

          • Perhaps some accidents occur that way, but I’ve seen far too many pedestrians talking on cell phones and not looking where they are going, mothers pushing their baby carriages out in front of traffic, practically daring a car to hit their precious cargo (generally talking on their cell phones as they do this), and even cyclists blithely gabbing away on their cell phones as they steer with one hand down a busy street.

            As someone who does not drive at all and who does use a bike a lot, I know I am guilty of going through red lights, but I never ever do that on Atlantic or 4th Avenues and always slow down to a crawl before going through a red light. I’d prefer NOT to get hit by a moving vehicle. They weigh a hell of a lot more than I do and have plenty of momentum.

  • The problem is not people on cell phones. The population of Park Slope from 4th to 5th aves, and on 4th Avenue itself, has grown significantly over the last decade When we moved to this area in 2001, a handful of people would get on and off the R at Union during rush hours. Now, there are hundreds – have you seen the lines streaming off the R in the early evening? We also have new families, and 2 new schools on 4th Avenue in the works. While these changes took too long to finalize, I’m thankful they will happen. I was worried that a small child would have to get run down on 4th Ave. before the city did anything about the dangerous conditions.

  • 4th Avenue is a legal truck route, one of the few in Brooklyn, and a major reliever for BQE/Gowanus expressway traffic in emergencies. The long held theory that trucks should be limited to particular streets that are built to accommodate them (multiple lanes, separate turn lanes, long sight lines, few trees overhanging the street) still holds true and the current push to make every single street in Brooklyn suitable for primarily pedestrian and bike use ignores the fact that somewhere in the area of 95% of goods that are shipped into Brooklyn are delivered in long-haul and cargo trucks as well as smaller commercial vans. If people don’t want these vehicles driving down smaller, even less appropriate streets and roads, it behooves all of us to allow the truck routes to remain primarily truck friendly. Pedestrians can be protected by adding additional signage to streets indicating that they are about to cross major truck routes and should take care to pay attention for turning vehicles, etc.

    • ” Pedestrians can be protected by adding additional signage to streets indicating that they are about to cross major truck routes and should take care to pay attention for turning vehicles, etc.”
      Yes, I’m sure that will solve the problem. Another person who thinks that all car/pedestrian accidents is solely the fault of the pedestrian.

      • Davfgreene, what solutions are you offering up? How to we continue to move goods to and through Brooklyn if we do not have “truck-friendly” streets? I do not think that car and pedestrian accidents are solely the fault of the pedestrians, but I do think that we can reduce accidents by segregating traffic into appropriate places. I also think that it is easier for pedestrians to alter their routes to avoid trucks than the other way around.
        Trucks belong on truck routes. Bikes and pedestrians should be encouraged to stay away from truck routes and should be diverted to other, lower volume streets. Large 32, 40 and 53 foot trucks are a reality for New York and as more and more alternative transportation infrastructure (waterborne and rail) has been removed to make way for luxury housing, they have become the ONLY WAY to move goods, equipment and necessities into or out of the city. So I’d much rather hear your solutions, than smug pronouncements about how ridiculous my suggestions are.

        • And for better or worse, much of that new housing is along 4th Avenue. Unless you’re proposing an elevated expressway, there is absolutely no way to segregate pedestrian and vehicular traffic along that route. Trucks can still drive down it, as it will continue to be a major artery, but they’re not going to be able to speed (i.e., break the law) so easily.

          • Most of the time I’m on 4th Ave in a car, the traffic is not moving at all quickly. When exactly are these vehicles speeding along???

    • As a driver, i don’t understand why they took the turning lanes out, that seems less safe for everyone, but the reality is that is section of 4th ave is now high density residential, and they do need to address that. Truckers will have to hit the road earlier. And by the way, the driving of tractor trailers is illegal in NYC; straight trucks only. A rule regularly broken, like J-walking.

      • Only 53 footers are illegal, 40 and 32 foot trucks are not. And, if you are getting something coming from a regional distribution center in South Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, or upstate, the odds of it getting off-loaded from a 53 footer to something smaller is not great. The economics of those moves just don’t work.

        Truckers are limited as to how early they can come into the city by the fact that the places they are delivering to are often not open late night/early morning and neither are the warehouses where they are picking up merchandise. There is an entire ecosystem for goods movement that exists, and these efforts to fix other problems without seemly recognizing the existence of that system is only going to create additional problems.

        • I guess you’ve never been abroad. To cities like London, Paris or Sydney. How many 53-footer trucks do you see there? None! They use smaller, more appropriate trucks to deliver in crowded areas with narrow streets. We can do the same. Economics does not trump everything.

          • I’ve been to Europe plenty of times. Smaller trucks are used because the 1) they are mandated or 2) the physical limitations of older cities and streets can’t accommodate large trucks in the city centers. In the US where there isn’t a physical limitation in the vast majority of cities, the only way to go to smaller trucks is if there is a requirement to do so. Why would a trucking company put a smaller truck with less capacity on the road to compete against companies moving larger trucks? Truckers can’t make money in smaller trucks moving less cargo, and cargo owners aren’t going to pay the same to get fewer units shipped to them.

            So, this isn’t going be something that people do voluntarily, its only going to happen if people start to understand how goods get to them and make rational decisions that take these factors into account, otherwise economics will trump everything.

          • Which is why we need to maintain a network of streets that can handle these larger trucks and other vehicles. I doubt whether anyone here is anxious to pay higher shipping/delivery costs, but that is what will happen if we put the screws on trucks.
            Traffic calming is wonderful, except when you’re a passenger who is in an ambulance on an emergency run to the hospital, a person waiting for the fire engine to arrive to douse a fire in your house, or the victim of a crime hoping the police will arrive as quickly as possible.

    • In the magic Bloombergian/Sadik-Khanian NYC of the future, everyone will either use public transportation, walk, or ride a bike … except for the truly wealthy and powerful who will tool around in the near-empty streets in their stretch limos. All goods will be parachuted into the city and to people’s houses. What a wonderful world awaits us!