Assemblyman Hikind, CBS 2 News Show You Can Fight City Hall And Win

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It was a rare mea culpa from the New York City Department of Transportation.

On Tuesday it began jack-hammering traffic islands in Borough Park that, as CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer first reported some 10 months ago, blocked ambulances, fire trucks and other emergency vehicles.

Not that New Yorkers should gloat, but they won.

In a first for the city, construction trucks were actually digging out and getting rid of DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan’s cherished traffic island projects — a dangerous project Kramer reported on last November.

“Thank you for taking it away. We said thanks, but no thanks,” Borough Park resident Yiddi Nusenzweig said Tuesday.

Borough Park traffic island

Community leaders in Borough Park asked the NYC Department of Transportation to remove traffic islands because they are potential hazards. On May 31, CBS 2 learned the agency had agreed. (Photo: CBS 2)

“I feel great that they’re taking it down, that the ambulances will be able to go through and people’s lives will be saved. Less people are going to get killed over this,” resident Abe Hertzberg added.

When Kramer first reported this story, she showed Ladder 114 having trouble rushing to a fire in Borough Park because it ran smack-dab into the DOT’s cement traffic islands, and how a traffic back-up forced another ambulance to swerve around the traffic islands and into oncoming traffic to reach the nearby Maimonides Hospital emergency room.

“This became an impediment to saving lives. This is just such a great victory,” Assemblyman Dov Hikind said. “What I’m saying to New Yorkers is if you don’t like your island or whatever it is that someone is doing in government because they think they know better than you — fight.”

Assemblyman Hikind joined the fight to get rid of the dangerous islands.

“Channel 2 News is responsible for helping us. It’s the truth,” Hikind said.

The owner of a local diner was among the celebrants.

Kramer: “When I first came here you told me I didn’t have a chance.”

Jimmy Giapoutzis: “You proved me wrong. You won. You’re right.”

Kramer asked a DOT Deputy Commissioner David Woloch if this was an example of people successfully fighting City Hall.

“I would say fighting City Hall. I think it’s an example of our agency and the community working together to try to improve an important corridor in the neighborhood,” Woloch said.

This is actually a double loss for the city. Not only did the DOT make a mistake, but the money from this boondoggle project can never be recovered. Assemblyman Hikind said the project cost several hundred thousand dollars. The DOT, however, said the number is much less. Either way, it’s going to cost more for once the project is ripped out; the streets will have to repaved and other traffic devices installed.

Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.

Comments (13)
  1. Rob says:

    What about us here in Manhattan? We have those islands worse than Brooklyn! Slabs of concretes blocking fire trucks, ambulances, police cars, cars, trucks, people, & etc. Enough of this nonsense and remove them!

  2. TJ says:

    It only makes sense that NYC’s large fire trucks and ambulances would be impeded from getting to a situation in a timely manner because of these idiotic islands. I would like to see a study done of how long it takes a fire truck to respond to an emergency when one of these islands is encountered. This isn’t small town usa. This is NYC. On already narrow streets, these islands will be responsible for people losing their lives sooner or later. Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that one out.

  3. Anderson Cooper says:

    please send update news & picture’s to my e-mail thank you

  4. just saying says:

    let’s be frank about this, the real issue was never the actual island…the problem was, has been, and will continue to be, the idiot double parking along that narrow stretch.

  5. steffi says:

    I wonder why the city acted so fast in taking down the traffic island in Borough Park. Could someone please tell me.

    1. Isaac Rothman says:

      Uhh….because us Jews get priority. We are God’s chosen people after all.

      1. JUSTATHOUGHT says:

        Isaac.. Your a Moron and a a&$ h%^&

  6. Rafael says:

    The ambulance and fire truck had problems down that street because all of the locals insisted in trying to double park and illegally park to close to the corners, and yes PD and PD Traffic are scared to enforce traffic violation laws in that area so instead of making people obey the law, DOT had to rip it up so everyone can continue to live above the law. None of those hard workers care either because they all made good money installing it and removing it. So you have your “VICTORY” and you paid twice for it. I hope DOT skips your neighborhood for all future beautification projects.

  7. goblin says:

    How about fixing the streets instead of wasting money installing garbage like this?

  8. Edward F says:

    These traffic medians and calming curbs are unnerving, to say the least. The circle near prospect Park and Coney Island Avenue is an accident waiting to happen. The Bloomberg administration declared war on the motor vehicle and is doing it through these modifications . If it’s a danger in Borough Park, it’s a danger everywhere else too, duh!
    Jeanette Sadik-Khan should be given her walking papers. There are plenty of curbs out there that have become fat. The only curb I like is on HBO.

  9. Jim - Manhattan says:

    Thank you Marcia. You and the public officials mentioned in the article are owed a debt of gratitude for your good work in getting these dangerous barriers to public safety removed.

    Now that this is accomplished, I would ask that you take a look at another area where these same barriers are creating a major obstruction. On Broadway in Manhattan, stretching for 10 blocks or more from 59th Street south, these cement barriers have channeled all traffic into two narrow lanes. As a resident of the area, I have watched as fire trucks struggle to get down these traffic-choked lanes.

    What makes this even more egregious is in addition to the barriers, the DOT has closed another space as wide as a traffic lane that appears to have no purpose whatsoever.

    Broadway – the world’s most famous boulevard is now neither broad nor safe.

  10. stormin' Norman says:

    There are other places where traffic modifications are needed before a major accident will occur. An example is 5th Avenue and 64th Street in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. There is a deadly blind spot for cars coming up 64th Street. Drivers have to pull far into 5th Avenue intersections to see the traffic. As a result, there have been many close calls. There should be something done before someone’s life is lost.

  11. karlson says:

    Another Bloomberg victory – NOT! What a waste of city money.

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