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Bay Ridge Fourth Avenue traffic plan

Ridge motorists to city: Keep your hands off 4th Ave. driving lanes

The Brooklyn Paper

Bay Ridge motorists drew a line in the asphalt against Borough President Markowitz’s plan to rejuvenate Fourth Avenue last week — demanding that the task force assigned to redesigning and beautifying the dangerous roadway keeps its hands off their cherished car lanes.

“It takes me 35 minutes to go from 69th Street to Atlantic Avenue, off-rush hour,” griped Community Board 10 member Greg Ahl during an April 18 task force meeting at Our Lady of Angels Church. “Reducing the number of lanes on Fourth Avenue is only going to make it worse.”

Markowitz wants to transform Fourth Avenue from the Verrazano Bridge to Atlantic Avenue into a tree-lined stretch replete with street furniture and wider sidewalks, leafier curbs, brick crosswalks, and pedestrian walkways with space for vendors.

He has enlisted grad students from New York University’s Urban Planning program to help him flesh out his vision for the roadway, which boasts six lanes of traffic between Downtown and Sunset Park and four lanes of traffic between 65th Street and Shore Road.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said the six-mile thoroughfare was the third most dangerous road in Brooklyn, tied with Avenue U and Eastern Parkway. Four pedestrians were killed on the strip between 2008 and 2010, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report did not indicate just where these fatal accidents occurred.

Yet Shore Road resident Allen Bortnick, who tried to get the city to rent him a public parking spot outside of his building earlier this year, said Markowitz’s plans for Fourth Avenue will only make life more difficult for drivers.

“The Department of Transportation has made its mind up to destroy traffic in New York,” Bortnick said. “My fear is this is just part of a plan to reduce the number of lanes on a major thoroughfare. Beautify the building facades all you want — but keep it curb-to-block, not curb-to-curb.”

CB10 member Ann Falutico told task force attendees that any attempt to limit traffic on Fourth Avenue would cause an exodus from New York.

“Creating an environment that is frustrating for drivers does not change things, it does not turn the world around, it just encourages people to move to New Jersey,” said Falutico.

But not everyone was against reducing traffic on Fourth Avenue.

“This is a vision to move forward,” said longtime Bay Ridge resident John Murphy, a cyclist. “A lot of people here are looking behind. If you look at Fourth Avenue now and think it’s good the way it is, you’re kidding yourself.”

Project head Carlo Scissura, considered the front runner for Markowitz’s seat in 2013, assured outraged car lovers that no one has decided to reduce traffic on Fourth Avenue. The proposals for wider curbs and pedestrian walkways were just “conversation starters,” he said.

“We’re at just the beginning of a very long process,” Scissura said.

The city is already taking steps to reduce the number of car lanes on Bay Ridge streets feeding into Fourth Avenue.

Last month, CB10 rejected a Department of Transportation proposal to strip away two lanes of traffic on 86th Street between Fourth Avenue and Shore Road.

The city also wanted to ban left turn lanes from Fourth Avenue onto 86th Street, claiming that the change will alleviate traffic congestion.

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Reader Feedback

Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Bottom line is that the needs of motorists should prevail, as they are actually going somewhere (probably their job, wich contributes taxes to the economy) rather than just idly jaywalking or biking for pleasure. Who pays for the roads? I don't ask to drive my car in the velodrome or in the parks and sidewalks; bikers and pedestriens should do likewise.
May 1, 2012, 12:53 pm
Mike from Bensonhurst says:
The fact is that fourth avenue is a main artery for southern brooklyn. When the BQE is routinely jammed, fourth avenue is one of the main alternatives. Not everyone can bike to work, as the new wave of young urban professionals thinks. There are tons of businesses that rely on the avenue to get somewhere and if the avenue gets reduced there will be the same traffic within a smaller area which equates with more congestion and more congestion equals more fossil fuels burned, so our environmentalist friends cannot see this as a good idea.
May 26, 2012, 2:15 am
Madonna from Bay ridge says:
I hate it. 4 ave became one way road each direction. In two lane One is always occupied with double parked cars and it creates more traffic.
Nov. 18, 2012, 9:59 pm
Madonna from Bay ridge says:
I hate it. 4 ave became one way road each direction. In two lane One is always occupied with double parked cars and it creates more traffic.
Nov. 18, 2012, 9:59 pm

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