Southern Brooklyn

Bensonhurst leaders want guardrails on Belt Parkway

Treyger, Gentile support community board 11 request

December 2, 2017 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Large sections of the Shore Parkway Green Way are unprotected from the adjacent Belt Parkway, leaving bike riders, joggers and pedestrians vulnerable to wayward traffic. The photo was taken from the foot bridge on 17th Avenue looking west. Eagle photo by Paula Katinas
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Bike riders, joggers and pedestrians who enjoy the Shore Parkway Greenway on beautiful, sunny days are taking their lives into their hands, according to Bensonhurst leaders, who said the close proximity of the nearby Belt Parkway imposes a danger to safety in the event of a terrorist attack.

The highway is right next to the bike and pedestrian path.

Community Board 11 has issued a request to the Department of Transportation (DOT) to install guard rails along the eastbound lanes of the Belt Parkway between Exits 4 and 5 (Bay Parkway and Bay 8th Street), in order to separate the roadway from the popular promenade that meanders along the waterfront of Gravesend Bay.

There are guardrails providing a barrier between the Belt Parkway and the foot path west of Bay 8th Street, but there are none from Bay 8th Street east to Bay Parkway.

The promenade is a popular area that in warm weather is crowded with residents biking, strolling, jogging, roller-blading and fishing, local officials said.

Community Board 11 District Manager Marnee Elias-Pavia said the board has been advocating for guard rails for at least two years.

But the recent spate of terror attacks involving trucks plowing into crowds of pedestrians, including the Halloween attack on a Hudson River promenade, illustrate the urgency of the need for some type of a barrier, she said.

The community board also voted unanimously at its Nov. 9 meeting for a resolution to request that DOT start an immediate study of the installation of guard rails.

“Community Board 11 has prioritized the installation of guardrails on the eastbound lanes of the Belt Parkway from Bay Parkway to Bay 8th Street, in its Capital and Expense budget recommendations for Fiscal Years 2018 and 2019,” Elias-Pavia said in a statement. “Users of the Shore Parkway Greenway are offered no protection from vehicular traffic on the Belt Parkway.  Considering the recent terrorist attack along the pedestrian-bike path on the west side of Manhattan and the vehicle that drove onto the American Veterans Memorial Pier, both resulting in the tragic loss of life, we call upon the Department of Transportation to immediately address these safety concerns.”

On Halloween, Sayfullo Saipov, a suspected terrorist, allegedly drove a truck at a high rate of speed along a bike and pedestrian path along the Hudson River in Lower Manhattan, killing eight people and injuries dozens of others.

The second incident Elias-Pavia was referring to involved an unidentified motorist who drove his car off the American Veterans Memorial Pier, plunging into New York Harbor.

Two local lawmakers, Councilmembers Mark Treyger and Vincent Gentile, both said they fully support the idea of putting guard rails up.

Treyger and Gentile wrote a letter to DOT asking the agency to take action.

“We need to protect the safety of pedestrians and cyclists. We already have guard rails separating the parkway from the promenade west of Bay 8th Street. The residents of Bensonhurst and Bath Beach and the visitors who frequent the eastern portion of the promenade and Greenway deserve the same sort of protection,” said Treyger (D-Coney Island-Gravesend-parts of Bensonhurst).

“I was incensed and astonished when I heard of the recent terrorist act on unsuspecting and innocent cyclists in lower Manhattan,” said Gentile (D-Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights-parts of Bensonhurst). “While we must continue to live in an open and free society, we must also take basic, yet vitally important steps to safeguard innocent civilians. We must ensure that we are doing all that we can to enhance safety in our public spaces, and the installation of these guardrails will do just that.”

DOT officials did not return phone calls by press time.

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