4th Ave. and 86th Street is scene of numerous crashes, members say
By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
A heavily trafficked Bay Ridge street corner that has been the scene of numerous car accidents in recent years should have a traffic agent to help move things along smoothly, members of Community Board 10 contended.
Members of the board’s Traffic and Transportation Committee are demanding that the New York Police Department (NYPD) assign a traffic agent to the intersection of Fourth Avenue and 86th Street. “It is the second highest collision area in Community Board 10,” Committee Chairman Doris Cruz told two NYPD officials at a meeting on Jan. 8.
The number of car crashes at the corner is second only to the intersection of Sixth Avenue and 65th Street, where the entrance to the Gowanus Expressway is located, board members said.
“We really need someone at 86th and Fourth,” Board Chairman Brian Kieran said.
Board members pointed out that the intersection of Fourth Avenue and 86th Street is a transportation hub with five bus lines (B1, B16, S53, S79 and S93), the R subway train, thousands of cars and thousands of pedestrians all intersecting.
An estimated 16,000 people are getting on and off buses and entering and exiting the subway station each day, Cruz said.
The corner also marks the gateway to the 86th Street Bay Ridge Business Improvement District, an area that attracts thousands of shoppers a day, she said.
Among the traffic dangers, according to board members: drivers making turns who don’t give pedestrians the right of way, drivers who park in bus stops, pedestrians who jaywalk, either by crossing against the light or cross in the middle of the street, and simply the sheer volume of traffic.
Joseph Ellis, the NYPD’s citywide traffic manager, listened to committee members with a sympathetic ear, but said he couldn’t promise them an agent for the busy intersection.
The NYPD has only 186 traffic agents to deploy to street corners for all of Brooklyn, all of Staten Island, and lower Manhattan, he said. The number does not include officers who write summonses for parking moving violations.
“I’m robbing Peter to pay Paul,” he told the committee, explaining how 186 agents are assigned in a wide urban area with many busy street corners.
Still, Ellis hinted that the situation isn’t hopeless. A new class is graduating from the Police Academy and if some of those new officers are assigned to his command, he would make Fourth Avenue and 86th Street one of his top priorities.
Short of putting an agent on the corner, there are steps that can be taken, according to Donald Powe, who works with Ellis. Powe suggested that the board request additional cops, not to direct traffic but to enforce the rules of the road and hand out summonses to drivers who violate the law. “The local precinct can handle that,” he said.
In addition, Powe suggested that a re-design of the traffic signal at the intersection to include installation of a turn signal, could help alleviate problems. A turn signal would give pedestrians a few seconds to cross the street before drivers are allowed to make the turn.
Powe also said repainting the roadway markings would help. The crosswalks, for example, have largely faded, he said.