Dangerous Roads: Borough Park Wants ‘Island’ Action

Local Leaders Ask For Changes But DOT Has Yet To Commit

NEW YORK (CBS 2) — It’s pushback — with a capital “p” — for a dangerous traffic island in Borough Park.

In what has to be a series of firsts, the community board voted it down and a Department of Sanitation boss dared to say it could cause injuries and deaths.

CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer has exclusive details on the island of trouble.

Ladder 114 recently had trouble rushing to a fire because of a new cement traffic island installed in Borough Park. A backup caused by the traffic island forced an ambulance to pull into oncoming traffic to swerve around the barricade.

That driver was lucky. He made it to Maimonides Hospital two blocks away. But another EMT driver wasn’t. He told Kramer he was stopped dead at the intersection while racing to a patient who had stopped breathing.

Kramer: “How long did you have to wait?”

Driver: “For three traffic light changes. I would say three to four minutes.”

He couldn’t save the patient.

Kramer: “Do you think those three or four minutes could have made a difference?”

Driver: “Ah, I believe so. According to the American Heart Association, if you arrive within four minutes when the patient stops breathing or goes into cardiac arrest the chance of the patient survival is 10 times more.”

“Lives are in danger. That’s the issue,” said Assemblyman Dov Hikind, D-Borough Park. “Maybe it’s your mother, maybe it’s your grandmother, your grandfather, your father, your child in a very serious situation. The difference of a minute or two or three may be the difference between life and death.”

Is it any wonder then that, in a first, Community Board 12 and its chairman, Alan Dubrow, voted to demand the city remove the traffic islands.

“Tomorrow, if they can’t do it this afternoon,” Dubrow told Kramer.

And in another first the local sanitation supervisor said the islands make it difficult for him to do his job. He emailed his bosses that the islands, saying they “could wind up causing serious injuries or fatalities.” And, “with the snow season upon us, it is of the utmost importance that the medians are removed.”

Department of Transportation officials had an often heated discussion Wednesday with community leaders.

“We met with the board just now and will take their information under advisement,” the DOT’s Ann Marie Doherty told Kramer.

So now the ball is in the city’s court. But the big question is whether it can admit that it may have made a mistake.

A DOT spokesman said safety is the “sole reason” for the pedestrian refuge islands.

More from Marcia Kramer
  • Ken

    Without that pedestrian island protecting her, you can bet dear Marcia Kramer would not be standing out in the middle of Fort Hamilton. She’s concerned about saving lives? Pedestrian islands like these have been proven to save lives in cities the world over, including ours. It’s clear from the footage that the only reason the fire truck slowed is due to the car in front of it, which violated the law by not pulling over. You have to wonder why CBS and Kramer are so obsessed with the installation of something that reduces deaths and injuries to pedestrians wherever it is used.

  • JJJ

    Im pretty sure its the cars, not the islands stopping the ambulances.

  • Rob

    These pedestrian islands are great, and are saving lives. All these drivers forget that they are talking on their cellphones and texting, and not paying attention to the pedestrians who have to make it all the way across the street. All we’re asking for is a little island of safety, to protect us and our families.

  • Kevin Walsh

    Since CBS is apparently enjoined from telling you where exactly the offending traffic island is, the report was done from Fort Hamilton Parkway and 46th Street.

  • atul savan

    i reside on the same block,it is real mess when garbage truck comes for a pick up,i see now they come late to avoid the morning rush hour,so as result the garbage is now all over
    the side walk.when the EMS comes the cars in front cannot move to right,it creates such a
    hazardas situation.

  • moshe wein

    let’s find out which DOT official had a relative that had extra cement that he needed to get rid of and then landed this idiotic contract.

    • steven

      Madison WI here……the same coment was ALSO left just like yours!!! Right here in our city!!!

  • linda

    get rid of these island. they are a problem and a waste of taxpayers money.
    let us see what problems occur with a major snow storm covering these islands. between our new street signs and now these islands Mayor B what is
    going on? Always been great supporter of yours however you are wasting my
    taxpayers money and as polls go you are out of control with spending my money on waste.

  • MMC

    I fully understand the logic of the pedestrian island. However, as a provider at Maimonides Medical Center, I know the normal everyday congestion in this particular Brooklyn neighborhood. Adding on the large volume of emergency vehicles needing to pass through the heavy traffic, these recently fabricated islands are creating a real risk.
    Instead of reducing valuable road space, why not use it to create an emergency lane?
    Like many city projects, build first think second.

    P.S. Moshe, you have valid concerns. However, your logic is wrong. The architecture and sole purpose of the island is to increase the efficiency/flow of traffic and avoid confusion between cars and pedestrians. When people (car or pedestrian) disobey the traffic laws, only then does tragedy occur.

  • Elcoh

    Sadik Khan’s radical agenda is the complete elimination of cars in NYC. She has the full support of Mayor Bloomberg on this agenda. Most Manhattan residents are thrilled to keep cars and traffic out of their home boro. The outer Boros are not going to stand for this nonsense. This fight is just the begining.

  • Moshe

    protecting people’s lives is not a waste of money. and this money has to be spent because people driving in their cars do not follow the rules of the road. they speed, they don’t yield to pedestrians, they drive while talking on their cell phones and/or drunk. ironically, this money is being spent because of all the people saying it is a waste.

    • ham

      Did you read the article above. It jams up ambulances with patients in cardiac arrest, limits fire truck access, will cause snow ploys to crash into the island and last time caused a car to flip over. You are confusing the issues. This has nothing to do with drunk driving and using the cell phone in the car. Please read the article.

  • Josh

    What gets me is that the City is not communicating the plans to add islands or anything else to the communities they’re affecting. The local Community Boards know what would work best as opposed to city planners, who don’t live in the areas they are told to improve. Again, we have the mayor and his disciples going over the will of the people and wasting our money. And while I agree that the elderly need more time to cross the streets in some places, adjusting the times of the crosswalks is free and doesn’t involve construction or demolition.

  • Bill F

    MIKE BLOOMBERG and DOT commistioner SADIK KAHN. They have decleared war on the car in NYC and they will do anything to get rid of them.

  • Common Sense

    All these islands that have been popping up all over the city is idiotic. There’s no need to put in these stupid islands. They cause more traffic jam because of less road for vehicles. The stupid city of NY is again wasting tax payers $$$ on ridiculous things. Fix all the damn pot holes and cracks instead. I thought the MTA has a huge deficit why not use this wasted money there so that everyone doesn’t get hit a huge fare hike. More signs of unnecessary spendings by the city of corruption.

    • Fatima

      You think you express is common sense? The majority of New Yorkers do NOT have a car. Driving everywhere is not common, New Yorkers walk, they walk to get to Mass Transit options. While fixing potholes and cracks makes sense, giving some road space to the elderly or families with children that cannot cross the street in one light cycle, now that is common sense.

  • Shirley Ranz

    The light changes so fast, an island could be a safe place to wait till the light changes again. i can’t always make it across the street while the traffic light is still green.

  • Lorelai

    I guess the City doesn’t know what else to do with our money, we are suppose to be in debt, yet, its funny they can find the money for things that we don’t want or need. Spend the money by fixing the darn pot holds instead, worry about those things instead of these islands. It is nonsensical and not well thought out at all!! Why doesn’t anyone worry about paying to fix every city street, side streets and avenues that are full of bumps and potholes, no one cares or even thinks about that!! I have seen craters in the middle of heavy traffic and not one person ever does anything about it!! Now to me that is dangerous and hazardous to anyone driving or walking!!

  • steven foellmi

    Madison Wisconsin here……we have had these island poping up all over the city of Madison the past few years wasteing our tax $$$ and just wait till the snow flys!!! those short little left turns right turn sign (in front of the islands) or a street sign post (any!)……are a real pain for the snow plows……like if they dont have ENOUGH to worry about on the roads! When the BIG front end loaders stat dumping snow right on the island……….so that you cant even see the roads (beyiond the piles of snow) anymore yet a PERSON walking!! MOST of the signs are knocked down by the time Spring rolls around and those darn Islands are a jolt of coffee when you hit the curbs!!! I hope they all get removed!!! A REAL DANGER TO THE PUBLIC! Steven

  • Moshe

    the pedestrian island protecting pedestrians from speeding vehicles doesn’t cause traffic, people driving their cars cause traffic. people driving their cars are holding up ambulances. people driving their cars are killing other people. do an expose on that!

  • Gloria Guerriera

    Borough Park is not the only neighborhood where thes islands have appeared lately, but they pose the same problems where ever the appear. Who ever designed them probably never drove the neighborhood. There is absolutely no need for them. They also eliminated alot of left hand turns for no reason at all.

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