Slow down, Kent! Three new stoplights headed for W’burg waterfront

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Three new traffic lights will tame Kent Avenue in Williamsburg, slowing motorists and cyclists while protecting pedestrians who are beginning flock to the neighborhood’s burgeoning waterfront, city officials say.

Department of Transportation workers will put stoplights and countdown clocks along Kent Avenue at N. Fifth, N. Sixth, and N. Seventh streets in May in an attempt to stop trucks, cars, and bikes from careening into crossing walkers.

Community Board 1 members, who have pushed the city for several years to slow traffic on Kent Avenue, called the measures an “amazing victory.”

“It is long overdue and will do a lot to increase safety — for both pedestrians and cyclists — along the Kent Avenue corridor,” said Community Board 1 Transportation Committee member Ryan Kuonen, who works off Kent Avenue.

The traffic change is the latest adjustment to the street, which is a truck route and the city’s second-most popular bike path.

In 2009, the city converted Kent Avenue into a one-way, northbound street while eliminating hundreds of parking spaces in a controversial plan that polarized residents.

But in 2010, bicycle traffic on the street’s protected lane surged 64 percent during weekdays and 324 percent on weekends, from 269 in 2008 to 1,141.

That happened as pedestrians began swarming to the waterfront and its parks as several condominiums towers filled up with residents and new attractions including food fairs, summer concerts, and ferry service debuted.

The flood of new residents and activity around Kent Avenue forced public officials to push the city to make changes.

“For too long, crossing Kent has been simply harrowing,” said State Sen. Daniel Squadron (D-Williamsburg). “These traffic signals are an important step toward protecting residents and all users on Kent.”

Residents who live on the waterfront say the signals will make a difference.

“The cars rush by here with no care for pedestrians, especially at night,” said Diana Park. “It will add another level of safety.”

And Bobby Kim says the lights and signals will make using Kent Avenue safer for both cyclists and pedestrians.

“Sometimes it takes seven to eight minutes to cross the street when there are a lot of cars,” said Kim. “And there are always children and pets running around. Now it will be better.”

Reach reporter Aaron Short at or by calling (718) 260-2547.
Updated 5:29 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Or from Yellow Hook says:
Slowing cyclists?

Very funny!

Cyclists take red lights as a suggestion.
Jan. 25, 2012, 12:40 pm
Ken from Greenpoint says:
yap.. its about time for DOT to install this traffic stops to protecting pedestrians....
Jan. 25, 2012, 12:51 pm
G from Greenpoint says:
@ Or from Yellow Hook: As pedestrians often take cross walks as suggestions. And often use bike lanes as a second sidewalk or in Kent's case, a running path.
Jan. 25, 2012, 1:19 pm
G from Greenpoint says:
I also love how the photo of Diane shows her standing in the middle of the bike lane as shes looking in the WRONG direction for traffic. Well illustrated!!
Jan. 25, 2012, 1:22 pm
Pedestrian from Bk says:
Bikers never follow directions. I kicked some biker off his bike after he nearly hit me when I had the right of way. If you're not going to follow the rules prepare to hit the pavement - hard. :)
Jan. 26, 2012, 6:31 am
Dave from Clinton Hill says:
G from Greenpoint says:..... it happens to be you are never on Kent ave there is a two way bike lane!!
Jan. 26, 2012, 10:40 am
Abe from Greenpoint says:
Pedestrian from Bk says:.... you are damn right!! follow rules and regulations that's will make much safer for everybody....
Jan. 26, 2012, 10:42 am
ty from pps says:
Wow, Pedestrian. A "near miss" and you go with assault and battery? If you actually did this (and not just internet crap), you're REALLY lucky you didn't find yourself arrested and working your way through the justice system right now. His wrong does not give you an excuse to touch him or his property.
Jan. 26, 2012, 11:47 am
Pedestrian from BK says:
Ty. Just protecting myself from some dumb hipster who thinks he doesn't have follow the law. His own fault. Had he been stopped at the light like the cars he would've still been on his bike. He's the problem with society. No one thinks the law applies to them. I'd do it again without thinking.
Jan. 26, 2012, 5:38 pm
Predestrian from Bk says:
Also Ty. Not too worried about being arrested since my whole fam is nypd. My dog and I both have been hit. It will not happen again.
Jan. 26, 2012, 5:44 pm
mike from GP says:
"Not too worried about being arrested since my whole fam is nypd."

Well, doesn't that just say it right there.
Jan. 27, 2012, 7:43 am
Pedestrian from Bk says:
Yes doesn't it mike?
Jan. 27, 2012, 5:49 pm
ty from pps says:
Pedestrian -- Other than reminding you that you are a serious douche bag (you may have forgotten), I wanted to remind you that "I kicked some biker off his bike after he nearly hit me" is not protecting yourself -- it's call assault.

Protecting yourself is stopping something *before* it happens... not *after* something *nearly* happened.
Jan. 28, 2012, 6:22 pm
Joe R. from Flushing says:
Just what the city needs-more traffic lights. Note to DOT and clueless community boards-traffic lights are NOT a traffic calming device or a safety device. They should only be used in cases where there is no room for a roundabout, and sight lines of cross traffic are poor enough to preclude using much more preferable 4-way yields.

If pedestrians really need 7 or 8 minutes to cross, then there's a traffic volume problem, and the city should actively take steps to reduce the amount of traffic. Failing that, pedestrian overpasses are the next best solution. Studies have shown traffic lights actually make things less safe for pedestrians.
Feb. 21, 2012, 6:10 am
Joe R. from Flushing says:
Pedestrian-nearlies and almosts don't count for squat under the law. If a cyclist actually hits you and you weren't at fault, then you have a legitimate gripe. Regardless, look before you cross, regardless of the state of the traffic signal. A red light isn't a magic force field which will stop cars or bikes. Human error means even the best intentioned drivers or cyclists will sometimes not stop at red lights. This is why you look before crossing.
Feb. 21, 2012, 6:17 am

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