86th Street reconfiguration project approved

After months of discussion, Community Board 10 approved the Department of Transportation’s 86th Street corridor reconfiguration project at its general meeting, held in the community room at Shore Hill on Monday, June 18.

DOT is implementing these changes at the request of CB10 to improve pedestrian safety along the corridor, which has some of the highest number of pedestrian accidents citywide, according to CB10 District Manager Josephine Beckmann.

The intersection of Fourth Avenue and 86th Street has been in the spotlight among different entities, including the Transit Authority and the Fourth Avenue Task Force. All organizations propose changes that would improve safety, but this is the first project that has been given the green light by the board.

The board also approved a motion to add an additional item to the project, at the request of the DOT, which is a right hand turn restriction on traffic moving eastbound at Fourth Avenue. This means cars traveling towards Dyker Heights and Bensonhurst would not be able to turn onto Fourth Avenue from 86th Street.

“There is a great deal of automobile and pedestrian contact by vehicles making that right turn,” explained Brian Kieran, chair of the Traffic and Transportation Committee, which has been working with DOT on this project. “This should improve bus safety on that block, as well.”

The other changes include: left turn restrictions for traffic on Third and Fourth Avenues onto 86th Street; the addition of a stop sign at 87th Street and Ridge Boulevard, which is on the edge of the corridor and near P.S. 185; countdown signals on all pedestrian crosswalks in the corridor and a traffic light configuration for all the lights on 86th Street, from mid-block between Fifth and Fourth Avenues to Shore Road.

“In a speeding prevention cycle, there should be no more than two green lights in a sequence along the corridor,” Kieran said.

Some CB10 members suggested installing a special left-hand turn signal at 86th Street and Fourth Avenue, but DOT said it was not an option since it would affect the reconfiguration of the traffic lights along the corridor.

“We are picking from a closed universe of what they are offering,” Kieran added.

Beckmann added, “The report is reflective of many discussions and community participation and concerns to improve safely along the 86th Street corridor.”

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