Exclusive: NYC DOT To Remove Borough Park Traffic Islands

Lawmaker, Business Owners, Residents Win Long Battle Against City Hall

NEW YORK (CBS 2) — There has been a rare change of heart from the beleaguered New York City Department of Transportation.

The Borough Park traffic islands that CBS 2 first told you about six months ago, the ones that caused such chaos, are apparently going to be removed, Marcia Kramer reports exclusively.

When CBS 2 first aired this story last November you saw Ladder 114 having trouble rushing to a fire in Borough Park. It ran smack dab into cement traffic islands installed by the DOT.

A back-up caused by the traffic island forced an ambulance to pull into oncoming traffic to swerve around the barricade and the problems of ambulances trying to reach the Maimonides Hospital emergency room down the block continue to this very day.

But apparently not for very much longer.

“It takes a lot of guts to recognize that maybe we could have done it differently, maybe we shouldn’t have done it, so I have to applaud the commissioner for seriously looking at this,” Assemblyman Dov Hikind said.

In a rare change of heart, Commissioner Jeanette Sadik-Khan has, sources say, agreed to remove the offending barricades. The move will head off a threatened suit by Assemblyman Hikind, who had gathered petitions from more than 1,000 constituents.

“The message was a very clear one: remove the islands; they jeopardize people in the community,” Hikind said.

It’s a big step for the agency to take. Just last week it installed new trees on the islands and the barricades themselves were costly. Those trees will now have to be uprooted.

“They actually spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to do this,” Hikind said.

Local businesses and residents are thrilled at the change of heart.

“It caused a lot of chaos with the ambulances going to the hospital,” said Jimmy Giapoutzif, adding when asked what his reaction will be when he sees bulldozers come up the block, “We’ll be celebrating.”

“I’ll believe it when I see it — as long as it’s not some political dodge,” Borough Park worker Dov Schechter said.

Officially, the only thing transportation officials would say is that they are considering making “improvements” to the area. But Assemblyman Hikind said this is an example of how you can fight City Hall.

Sources tell Kramer the DOT is expected to reveal its plans to remove the barricades at the end of next month.

Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.

More from Marcia Kramer
  • steve

    to all those touting safety improvements Ill have them know that chances are that in the Ambulance trying to make it to Maimonides Medical center is probably that senior you “tried” to help cross that street! All these islands did was encourage seniors and children who have to wait over a minute for the traffic signal to change so they can cross now tried to dart across traffic as they had a landing point between lanes! Get rid of these stupid islands shorten time between signal changes and you will have a safer road. period.

  • KC

    We need to come up with a new term for what Ms. Kramer does. It’s not journalism, she is just a mouthpiece for the pro-auto, anti-bike/pedestrian wackos. Maybe it should be called Dov-ening?

    • mark

      My mom told me never to call a woman by that word.

  • boro park

    If you ever drove on ft- Hamilton ave and tried to turn on to new utrecht to the higher streets, b4 the islands it was very hard cuz u had three lanes trying to go straight and turn from both sides at same time causing many accidents. now with the islands its a lot easier. The only other option is to change the traffic light to add an arrow.

  • CaptainAmerica

    This might have been an interesting story if it told us some or all of the streets involved.

  • NiBBLer Watch

    Will CBS2 admit to their culpability when the first person gets run over crossing the street where the refuge island used to be?

    • RichieT

      If they get run over because they’re crossing the street no matter what the walk signs, and traffic light’s are for. it’s they’re own fault. How many, avenues have islands in the Middle. Atlantic Ave, in Brooklyn does. It’s wide enough for eight lanes of traffic. That’s a major difference.

    • RichieT

      How many people are going to die because the fire engines and ambulances can’t get though. If it was a person in your family, you’d be screaming to get them removed. That’s after,you sue the city for having them there in the first place.

      • mark

        Chris, some guy Marcia Kramer talked to said they are dangerous. What more proof do you want?

      • Chris

        Show me one person – ONE – who has died because of these pedestrian islands. You can’t, because there’s absolutely no evidence that they’ve done any harm at all. So there’s traffic and an emergency vehicle got stuck in it. That happens dozens of times each day on New York city streets without these islands and nobody is raising a stink over it

      • mark

        The idea that emergency vehicles should speed at all costs is flawed.

        Few. fire engines and ambulances frequently crash and injury/kill pedestrians. many fire companies are choosing to drive slower so they can save MORE lives.

  • steve

    Marcia Kramer has once again proven herself to be the absolute opposite of a journalist. Some journalists expose the truth and make the world a better place. She does the exact opposite.

    The first pedestrian death that occurs after these refuges are taken out can be blamed squarely on her shoulders. Dov Hikind, Marty Markowitz, and David Greenfield also bear some of the responsibility.

    • RicheiT

      Any person crossing the street against the cross walks signs is an idiot. It happens why to often in NYC. Some cities you’d get a ticket. They get hit? It’s their own fault. How many people die because ambulances and fire trucks can’t get through, That should be blamed on you for pushing to have them left there.

      • Chris

        RicheiT: I guess you don’t understand that the entire point of these islands is to allow slow-moving pedestrians, like vulnerable seniors, to be able to cross the street without getting stuck in the middle in between light cycles.

        These aren’t for people who are “crossing the street against the cross walk signs.” They’re for people who step into the street at a walk signal. And when one of them inevitably gets hit by a car, all of the parties involved in removing these islands will have blood on their hands.

      • chris townsend

        Richei, Do you really believe in this non-issue of ambulance/fire truck access, or are you just a bitter driver who cares more about getting through intersections three seconds quicker than you do about pedestrian safety? This is clearly a safety improvement. Every study about transportation safety says we should calm traffic to reduce accidents. Pedestrian islands are a proven safety improvement. If you care just about unimpeded driving, be a man and say so, instead of hiding behind Marcia Kramer and Dov Hikind’s non-issue.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Giving Tuesday
Charles Osgood Event

Listen Live