City admits Atlantic Avenue right on red is wrong

The Brooklyn Paper
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Crossing Atlantic Avenue to reach Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 6 will no longer be a dangerous game of “Frogger” for park-goers after the city stops allowing motorists to make right turns on red.

Drivers turning onto the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway on-ramp have blatantly ignored a massive “no turn on red” sign installed last year — but now the Department of Transportation says it will eliminate the suburban-style turns and introduce a “pedestrian only” signal phase as soon as this summer.

“This is going to save lives,” said Paco Abraham, a vice president of the Cobble Hill Association. “We just can’t have intersections like that if we want people to have safe access to Brooklyn Bridge Park.”

Current rules allow drivers to make right turns on red between 7 and 10 am on weekdays — but city officials admit that many motorists make right turns on red at all times.

Locals have long demanded that the city completely ban rights on red at the inersection, but Department of Transportation officials refused, saying that doing so would back up traffic on Atlantic Avenue in the morning rush.

But traffic planners now insist the new plan will allow 120 more vehicles to get onto the interstate per hour.

“Our hope is that by removing the slightly abnormal right turn on red sign, people will stop doing it eventually,” said senior project manager Ted Wright.

The plan also includes shortening the 80-foot-long crosswalk by constructing a traffic island, adding bollards between the two lanes of westbound Atlantic Avenue traffic nearing the ramp to prevent cars from making dangerous turns from the center lane, and building a median to prevent eastbound Atlantic Avenue motorists from turning left onto the interstate during red lights.

Park-lovers have clamored for a traffic fix to the area

since the park opened with a dog run and mega-playground in the summer of 2010. The city took up the cause a year later,

beefing up bike access on nearby Columbia Street, but neighbors said the changes didn’t go far enough.

Sandy Balboza, president of the Atlantic Avenue Betterment Association, said that the city’s latest plan still isn’t sufficient.

She wants a countdown clock at the intersection for pedestrians.

“At least the [Transportation Department] is making an effort,” she said. “But it needs to be monitored to see if it all works.”

Updated 5:29 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

John from BH says:
Great news!

Can we also fix the pigeons poop under the bridge? That's a health hazards considering the amount of it on the sidewalk...
I know this is not a budget priority, but it could be done by DOT/city employees in one day, adding metalic structure/nets to prevent pigeons to nest under the bridge...

Just to my 2 cents.
Jan. 18, 2012, 10:34 am
SwampYankee from ruined Brooklyn says:
Sorry John, no fix on the pigeon poop. In fact this whole story has to be redone. There are just not enough victimized cyclists to allow this to be published. You see this is only cars vs. pedestrians. All stories must be about virtuous cyclist being mowed down by cruel automobiles.
Jan. 18, 2012, 11:19 am
John from South Slope says:
I'm surprised anyone so clearly in love with Iris Weinshall and her idiocy would choose a name like "Swamp Yankee"
Jan. 18, 2012, 11:58 am
Frank from Furter says:
At atlantic(heading west) at Boerum turning north, they replaced a right turn on red stop sign with green lights arrows and on a through green as well. While at the beginning cars still turned right(and some still do) on the red light the 84th PCT did have a car there and ticketed some of these and its pretty much stopped.
I don't see why they don't have a green arrow at this point that is useable only during the hours that the need it to clear the street(or they will need to re-time the lights completely), then if you go through its a passed a red light ticket a much higher fine and early suspension of the license.
I have never seen a cop at atlantic and the highway issuing tickets....and I think its an 76th precinct corner.
Jan. 18, 2012, 12:18 pm
Eazy D from Sheepshead Bay says:
Norm wants to play "Frogger"
Jan. 18, 2012, 6:36 pm
SwampYankee from ruined Brooklyn says:
I assume John from South Slope is one of those smug cyclists because I don't even know who Iris Weinshall is. I just know that every traffic issue has to be about virtuous cyclists or else the spandex crowd pouts. As for the nickname it is an old new england nick name for common farmers that have been in this county since before the revolutionary war. I am a descent of such a family and was born in brooklyn just as the previous 6 generations were. So, I am a native, not a transplant, like so many hipster cyclists. Brooklyn was fine before you folks showed up. please feel free to cycle back to MinniWisconDakoto or where ever you came from
Jan. 19, 2012, 11:37 am
LOLcat from Park Slope says:
Too bad the police cant be bothered to just go enforce the damn law. Sounds like plenty of tickets could be given here to fill quotas.
Jan. 19, 2012, 12:43 pm
Peter Kaufman from Brooklyn Heights says:
Don't feed the SwampYankee troll.
Jan. 20, 2012, 10:43 am
Robert H. Sand from Brooklyn Heights says:
The DOT botched the design of this crossing and then refused to face up to the obvious dangers. The many months of intransigence by the DOT suggests that its management needs to think through its obligations to pedestrian traffic as well as to vehicular traffic.
Jan. 20, 2012, 1:34 pm
ty from pps says:
Robert Sand -- You're effin' joking right?!? The DOT needs to think through its obligation to pedestrian traffic?!

ABSOLUTELY every single improvement to pedestrian safety (sidewalk bumpouts, pedestrian refuge islands, changed light sequences, pedestrian plazas, speed bumps, "road diets," etc. etc. etc.) is met with crazy opposition. CLEAR evidence that they are trying to do A LOT for pedestrian traffic, even in the face of self-entitled drivers.

You know folks going to the park could walk on the other side of the street, right? Yes. Not ideal, but a slightly poor right-turn design at one intersection is hardly cause to indict the entire DOT for not doing anything for pedestrian safety.

Think before you write.
Jan. 20, 2012, 2:01 pm
Rob from Carroll Gardens says:
Thanks, Robert. The suggestion that people walking to the park could cross over to the other side of Atlantic - crossing another two dangerous exit ramps from the BQE -is ridiculous! Obviously Ty must work for the park development corporation or the Heights Association - those who cater to people living inside a park who drive their BMW's to get there. Heaven forbid moms with strollers should go to the park in the first place! Anyway, with so little to do in the park, a betterand safer solution is simply to use the lovely parks created around the hospital and forget the devel-o-park!
Jan. 27, 2012, 4:12 pm

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