Speeding-Plagued 4th Ave Could Get a Road Diet in Bay Ridge

Fourth Avenue could get a road diet along 13 blocks in Bay Ridge, with added pedestrian islands and curb extensions. Images: DOT

Elevated from today’s headline stack: The Brooklyn Paper has a recap of DOT’s presentation to the Fourth Avenue Task Force last week, outlining options for the major avenue in Bay Ridge. The changes include a left-turn lane at 75th Street, a concrete pedestrian island at 86th Street, and a road diet along 13 blocks that would replace a four-lane configuration with two lanes plus turning bays.

The recommendations came after a January 24 workshop [PDF] where residents said their top concerns included speeding, double parking, and pedestrian safety. DOT’s measurements back up the concerns: on Fourth Avenue between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m., up to 63 percent of drivers clocked in over the 30 mph speed limit.

A source who attended the meeting says the ideas were mostly well-received, and Bay Ridge has an active contingent of neighborhood street safety advocates, led by Maureen Landers. But of course, a presentation about traffic calming in Bay Ridge wouldn’t be complete without an appearance from Community Board 10 member Allen Bortnick, who infamously lobbied to acquire the curbside parking space in front of his home. While DOT’s models show the change will have a minimal impact on the street’s automobile capacity (as engineer Dan Burden explains in this Streetfilm, road diets help traffic flow in a smoother, more orderly fashion), Bortnick saw a conspiracy. “Sadik-Khan is really Sadist-Khan, and she never met a car she liked,” he told Brooklyn Paper. “They’re duping the public.” So, mystery solved. Bortnick, appointed to CB 10 most recently by Council Member Vincent Gentile, is the one person in New York who takes Post columnist Andrea Peyser seriously.

Fourth Avenue, running six miles from Atlantic Avenue in Park Slope to Shore Road in Bay Ridge, has already received a makeover in Sunset Park, and a companion effort is underway in Park Slope. The next step in Bay Ridge: DOT will modify the plan to address feedback before presenting to CB 10. A date has not yet been set.

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To keep making progress on traffic safety, redesigns as substantial as this protected bike lane planned for Fourth Avenue in Brooklyn will have to be implemented citywide. Image: NYC DOT

DOT Shows Its Plan to Get the Reconstruction of 4th Avenue Right

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Fourth Avenue is far and away the most viable potential bike route linking Bay Ridge, Sunset Park, and Park Slope, but it's still scary to ride on, with no designated space for cycling. At 4.5 miles long, a protected bike lane would make the reconstructed Fourth Avenue one of the most important two-way streets for bicycle travel in the city, connecting dense residential neighborhoods to jobs and schools.