Pols back community board’s request for Belt Parkway guardrails

Two local pols have teamed up with a southern Brooklyn community board in calling for the installation of guardrails along the Belt Parkway, from Bay Parkway to Bay Eighth Street, the better to separate the road from the Gravesend Bay Promenade and Shore Parkway Greenway.

“We need to protect the safety of pedestrians and cyclists,” said Councilmember Mark Treyger who at the end of November,  along with Councilmember Vincent Gentile, sent a letter expressing support for a resolution unanimously adopted at Community Board 11’s November general meeting to Department of Transportation officials.

That resolution asks that the agency immediately begin studying the installation of guard rails along the eastbound lanes of the Belt Parkway between Exits 4 and 5.

While there are such guardrails in place west of Bay Eighth Street, no such protection exists from Bay Eighth Street until Bay Parkway, where the promenade terminates. The area is heavily utilized by local residents and visitors alike.

The push comes in part as a result of the October 31 terrorist attack in lower Manhattan in which eight people lost their lives and 11 others were injured after a vehicle was used as a weapon against pedestrians and cyclists. More recently, a man drove his car onto the American Veterans Memorial Pier in Bay Ridge, near the promenade’s starting point, an incident the politicians contend could have been catastrophic.

“I was incensed and astonished when I heard of the recent terrorist act on unsuspecting and innocent cyclists in lower Manhattan,” said Gentile. “It was gut-wrenching to hear of the devastation caused, in which eight innocent lives were lost. 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 already have guard rails separating the parkway from the promenade west of Bay Eighth Street,” said Treyger. “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.”

According to Community Board 11 District Manager Marnee Elias-Pavia, the board has prioritized the installation of the guardrails in its capital and expense budget recommendations for fiscal years 2018 and 2019.

“Users of the Shore Parkway Greenway are offered no protection from vehicular traffic on the Belt Parkway,” she said. “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.”

“We must ensure that we are doing all that we can to enhance safety in our public spaces,” added Gentile, “and the installation of these guardrails will do just that.”

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