BAY RIDGE — If you’ve recently driven down Ridge Boulevard in Bay Ridge, you might have noticed the square orange boxes attached to the lampposts along with a camera pointed at the roadway. Since there are no schools in the immediate vicinity, you also might be wondering what in the world they are.
Well, according to City Councilmember Justin Brannan, those cameras at Ridge and 94th Street and also at Ridge and Marine Avenue have been placed there to count the number of cars passing through the troublesome intersection at Ridge and Marine.
“They’re actually fancy schmancy car counters,” said Brannan. “We are working on completely redesigning that crazy roundabout intersection where Ridge meets Marine.”
The dangerous and confusing intersection has been the scene of many accidents over the years, including a 2017 incident in which a Bay Ridge woman was severely injured after getting struck by a vehicle at Ridge and Marine. Monica Savage-Kanter suffered a broken leg and ankle. She survived but her husband Danny Kanter demanded that the city revamp the oddly-configured intersection to improve its safety.
Kanter, is the son of civic leader Abe Kanter, a veteran and active volunteer in the Bay Ridge community who died in 2009. The elder Kanter had a street co-named in his memory at 65th Street and Fourth Avenue in 2011.
“I almost lost the love of my life because she was hit by a lady who was not looking,” Kanter told this paper at the time. “That almost killed her. She’s lucky to be alive but was hurt very badly.
“It’s a very bad intersection,” he added. “Cars do not stop at the stop signs and there’s only one crosswalk. It’s triangular and there’s a big safety zone in the middle of it. It’s the most unusual intersection you can ever see.”
A DOT spokesperson confirmed at the time that a traffic signal study was underway at the location but no timeline was given for when it would be completed.
“That particular intersection has been the site of several motor vehicle crashes,” said Community Board 10 District Manager Josephine Beckmann. “And in its current configuration, we’ve heard from many residents asking for improvements because of difficulty crossing. In fact, a few months ago, City Councilman Brannan had an onsite meeting with DOT. I was in attendance at the meeting. The DOT said they were going to study it and come back with some recommendations.”
Beckmann explained that DOT was currently looking for a way to redesign the intersection. “The orange boxes you see are taking volume counts as they continue to do their study in order to make improvements,” she said.
“What the Department of Transportation typically does is they take a look at vehicle traveling patterns and turning patterns, on the local streets as well as on Marine Avenue to where it all ties in,” Beckmann added. “Then the engineers will look at that and make recommendations.”
Beckmann said that following Savage-Kanter’s accident, the DOT did make some visibility changes at the intersection, but acknowledged that she and Brannan want more done.
“This has always been a wonky intersection,” Brannan told this paper. “It’s confusing for drivers and therefore very dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists. We have asked DOT to explore a complete overhaul of this intersection. We’re looking at new clearly painted crosswalks, traffic controls and more. There have been several bad crashes here and even more close calls. This intersection needs to be made safe once and for all.”
Additional reporting by Jaime DeJesus.