Bay Ridge

DOT extending curbs on Fourth Avenue in Bay Ridge

Idea is to increase pedestrian safety, says community board manager

October 24, 2014 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The DOT is painting extensions of curbs at a handful of intersections in Bay Ridge. The effect, as this photo of a curb on 18th Avenue and 84th Street in Bensonhurst shows, is to offer a wider area of space that is off-limits to cars. Eagle photo by Paula Katinas
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In an effort to give pedestrians a safer passage as they cross Fourth Avenue in Bay Ridge, the city’s Department of Transportation (DOT) is extending the curbs at some of the busiest intersections along the avenue, according to Community Board 10 officials.

Josephine Beckmann, the community board’s district manager, told the board that DOT is physically extending the curbs at two intersections – Fourth Avenue and Bay Ridge Parkway and Fourth Avenue and Shore Road – by adding another few feet of concrete so that the curb extends farther into the street.

The agency is also extending the curbs at five other Fourth Avenue intersections, including Ovington Avenue, 78th Street, 80th Street, 82nd Street and 84th Street, by painting markings in the street.

“The safety improvements are under way,” said Beckmann, speaking at the community board’s meeting at the Fort Hamilton Senior Citizens Center on Oct. 20.

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The idea behind making the curb larger is to give pedestrians a safe haven from which to cross the street, according to Beckmann. “You are also shortening the crossing time,” she told the Brooklyn Eagle on Wednesday. A larger curb that extends farther out into the street shortens the distance the pedestrian has to be in the street.

The new curbs will have to be maintained, Beckmann said. The community board is seeking volunteers, either individuals or groups, to pitch in and keep the curbs clear of debris. “We are looking for maintenance partners,” she told the Eagle.

In addition to the new curbs, the DOT is also working to improve the operation of streets lights along Fourth Avenue from 68th Street to 85th Street, according to Beckmann.

The safety enhancements are part of a series of measures DOT is taking along the entire length of Fourth Avenue from Atlantic Avenue in downtown Brooklyn all the way west to Shore Road in Bay Ridge. The DOT is seeking to redesign the avenue in several spots. Last year, the agency held several public hearings to discuss the changes in the affected community boards.

The area of Fourth Avenue in Community Board 10’s jurisdiction extends from 65th Street to Shore Road.

The plan to revamp Fourth Avenue started off as an idea that former borough president Marty Markowitz introduced four years ago. At the time, Markowitz stated that he envisioned turning the entire avenue into a grand Champs Elysees-type of boulevard with tree lined sidewalks, wider curbs for pedestrians, benches, bike racks and trendy shops.

Markowitz worked with graduate students from New York University’s Urban Planning program to develop his proposal.

One of the steps in that plan is to increase safety for pedestrians. Fourth Avenue is the third most deadly corridor in Brooklyn, after Kings Highway and Atlantic Avenue, according to a 2011 study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. There were seven pedestrian deaths on both Kings Highway and Atlantic Avenue between 2008 and 2010. There were four pedestrians killed on Fourth Avenue during that time frame, the study found.


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