NEW YORK (1010 WINS/ CBS 2) — Snow isn’t the only neighborhood nuisance many residents want removed from a street in Brooklyn. They want the city to jackhammer newly installed traffic islands they say are wreaking traffic havoc.

At the corner of 46th Street and Fort Hamilton Parkway — just two blocks from a major hospital — residents say they’re dealing with the tyranny of good intentions.

 LISTEN: 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria reports

The traffic islands that are intended to improve safety, they say, are a threat that they want ripped out, reports CBS 2’s Tony Aiello.

For some, the new traffic islands provide a place of safety while crossing the street.

“I think it’s really nice, because you can cross it without any incident,” Borough Park resident Amina Khan said.

“When I’ve been in the middle, you feel a little protected,” Max Heinrich of Flatbush added.

For others, though, the islands have become an unwanted obstacle, causing traffic backups that delay fire trucks and ambulances heading to nearby Maimonides Medical Center.

“My friend’s daughter needed to go to the hospital, and the ambulance could not get through,” Borough Park resident Henche Schonblum said.

On Thursday, Assemblyman Dov Hikind and Borough President Marty Markowitz didn’t mince words.

“This situation is an absolute disaster. It is endangering the lives of people,” Hikind said.

The Parkway once had three lanes — two for traffic and one for middle for turns, emergency vehicles and truck deliveries — but now it’s down to two.

“It’s nuts. This has little to do with pedestrian safety or senior citizen safety,” Markowitz said.

Markowitz added the median is part of Mayor Bloomberg’s larger agenda: “to narrow the roads, take away parking and try to force residents out of automobiles.”

The local lawmakers joined a handful of local seniors on Thursday to demand the City remove the traffic islands.

In November, CBS 2 aired video showing a fire truck struggling to turn onto Fort Hamilton Parkway past the concrete island. An ambulance was even forced to travel in the oncoming lane because of a backup at the island.

“I think we should take a deep breath and take some time to see how it’s working,” Borough Park City Councilman Brad Lander said.

Councilman Lander supported installing the islands, and he said a few tweaks – such as installing “No Parking” zones near the island – are helping.

“Maybe there are a few more changes we can make to balance it best, so it works for pedestrians, so it works for emergency vehicles,” he said.

Residents say some of that tweaking is causing additional trouble by eliminating parking spots, making it that much more difficult for area merchants.

The City Department of Transportation, though, says the pedestrian islands are a proven way to improve pedestrian safety in a neighborhood where three seniors have been hit and killed crossing the street in the last few years.

The DOT has so far given every indication that the islands are here to stay.

Tony Aiello

Comments (7)
  1. Barry Levine says:

    I think there should be a traffic island in every road in the whole city, that way, more “planners” can be hired and a commish will be needed for the new islands, and a paid board of directors will be able to “govern” the use of these islands and a new summons writing force can be created to enforce “use of islands rules”, and every merchant, homeowner, renter and rabbi will pay an additional island use tax, and meters can be installed on those islands and every time a person steps onto one he will need to put a coin in the meter……..wadda ya mean, you think I’m nuts??? Huh???

  2. Omri Schwarz says:

    That stretch of road has seen 3 people run over and killed in the last three years, and many others injured. These islands protect from a danger that kills New Yorkers every day.

  3. safestreetsforseniors says:

    A rabbi died in Dov Hikind’s district, hit by a car. He was not on a street with a pedestrian refuge. Shame on Hikind for appearing in this story so soon after such a tragic loss of life and shame on CBS2 for going ahead with this story in light of the news. We need more safe places for pedestrians, especially elderly ones, so that tragic deaths such as the rabbi’s don’t occur.

    1. tom says:

      The Rabbi died because he was j walking and did not look when he crossed in middle of the road and on a very dar ave .

      three witnesses said the rabbi was at fault. Now according to your warped logic we should put a pedestrian island wherever a person dies.

      your sicker than the mayor of New York city

      1. safestreetsforseniors says:

        Nope. The rabbi was in the crosswalk and hit by an unlicensed driver. That’s right: the driver should not have been behind the wheel of a car.

        All I’m saying is that, despite Marty and Dov’s claims, there is no evidence that a pedestrian island has every been responsible for a death. There is plenty of evidence that cars and bad driving have. Fine if they want to do a study and see what effect these islands have on traffic and peds, but not fine to just stand on a corner and make wild claims.

        The only sick thing is that CBS2 would file this report so soon after such a terrible tragedy for the community.

        Also, the word you are looking for is “you’re” as in “you are sicker…”

        But please feel free to blame an 80-something rabbi for being hit by an unlicensed driver.

  4. noFaith says:

    another way of justifying wasting our tax dollars. next year they will ask for tax dollars to maintain such “infrastructure”. I remember that is how our government got this HUGE, one nuisance at a time.

  5. browne says:

    Good. Leave them be.

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