What needs improving on Fourth Ave in Park Slope?

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    51 Responses to What needs improving on Fourth Ave in Park Slope?

    1. SJ Avery says:

      Traffic flow related to drop off of children (and supplies) at the new school needs to be examined carefully, since Butler Street is not a thru strees. I see a lot of potential for traffic problems residents will experience. Even more seriously, there is no safety plan for this school

    2. Doug GGordon says:

      The entire strip needs neckdowns and traffic calming at every side street. Speeding drivers on 4th Avenue make high-speed turns onto side streets, endangering pedestrians in crosswalks. Drivers also park in crosswalks, blocking pedestrians. Building them out would discourage this behavior.

    3. T. Henderson says:

      Left-turn arrows need to be installed from Union to 9th Street. 4th Avenue is dangerous for pedestrians, and turning vehicles frequently jam up moving lanes in both directions.

      • Honey Theogene says:

        Turning from 9th Street to 4th avenue causes traffic problems. Putting a turn signal is a solution for both 4th Ave and 9th Street. Thank you for considering this solution,

    4. Lauri Schindler says:

      Curbside management – especially loading zones and maybe even short term parking. Let’s give trucks a proper place to park and unload instead of complaining that they double park.

    5. Hilda Cohen says:

      The view North while walking or driving on 4th Avenue is really lovely, as the Williamsburg Clock tower is in the distance. It is an Avenue that gets so much pedestrian traffic, but it traffic moves too fast for it to feel safe. Slow down traffic and make it easier to walk on and to cross. Traffic speeds along this route because it is so wide. Make the lanes narrower, make it so turning traffic has to slow down and make the center wider for crossings and to narrow the whole width. It should be a real Avenue or Boulevard, not a raceway.

    6. Erin says:

      I agree with the idea of left turn arrows. Because traffic on 4th can be be difficult to turn in front of, people often have to “gun it” when they see their chance, making it dangerous for both pedestrians and cars. People tend to relax when they know the will get a turn.

    7. Vladimir says:

      Traffic calming measures, lower the speed limits, speed and stop light cameras, separated bicycle lanes or at least painted-on in both directions.

    8. Joe Ciccone says:

      The volume of water flowing down the Slope during heayv rainstorms has enough pressure to lift the covers off the manholes and deposit them several feet away. At least one person has fallen in an uncovered manhole (invisible through the water) and would have been drowned but for some help from passersby (Carroll and 4th Ave.). Could use some sort of grill or crossbars underneath the covers to prevent any re-occurance

    9. Frank Bolton says:

      There are TWO schools between 4th Avenue and 8th Avenue on 5th Street plus skateboard ramps near 4th Avenue in the part of the park on 5th Street.
      Perhaps the reason for so much truck traffic is the fact that 5th St. was among the last uphill streets to get a traffic light at 5th Avenue, making it a truck thoroughfare and a raceway for cars and motorcycles. There is a need for a traffic light at 5th Street & 4th Avenue with a left turn arrow on the avenue. Perhaps speed bumps on 5th Street alongside JHS 51?

    10. Rachel Lousteau says:

      This is a major intersection for small children (a route to Children’s School & Rivendell School). Please look into the possibility of installing pedestrian activated flashing lights to run along the ground and also in the median to alert drivers that pedestrians are entering the crosswalks.
      ( e.g. Smart Crosswalk™ Traffic Calming System by LightGuard Systems)

    11. Casey says:

      Left turn signals. I was hit by a car making this turn at Union and 4th. Luckily the car wasn’t going too fast, but many do to try to make the light.

    12. Dave 'Paco' Abraham says:

      4th avenue needs a safe street makeover. Neckdowns, re-striped (and perhaps different colored) crosswalks, and speed cameras are a no brainer. Less obvious, but just as needed as additional crosswalks to break up the extreme distances between intersections that encourage people to jaywalk dangerously across so many lanes of traffic. If it is to remain a truck route too… its long past due that DOT gives actual Truck loading zones on each and every block. Without it… double parking with continue and won’t help slow traffic but instead will just create more blind spots endangering pedestrians.

    13. Chris McNally says:

      There are too many lanes for cars and they are too wide. How about a nice island, like on Allen St in the lower east side, that has a separated pedestrian path and a separate bike path. Here are two photos of said pathway: http://flic.kr/p/dpPyxp and http://flic.kr/p/dpPBsY

      Because of the island, pedestrians on Allen have a shorter distance to cross, and a large refuge to wait on when crossing halfway. This would be a fantastic addition to 4th ave and help turn it from an ugly street level highway into a place people might like to walk and bike.

      The should be left turn signals at each intersection and just like on Allen, you put in a separate bike light so that cyclists know to stop when the cars have the left turn. They get a Red bike light. This works very well on Allen.

    14. Daniel Garwood says:

      Can you either remove the push-to-cross-street buttons, or make them actually do something? There’s one on Fourth near Pacific or Dean or Bergen, but it doesn’t do anything.

      If you do choose to activate them, please keep in mind that just because pushing the button can make one traffic light turn red doesn’t mean it must make the other light turn green.

    15. Brendan Gray says:

      4th Avenue would benefit from day-lighting at all intersections (in all directions) . Loading zones are a great ideas as well. The rampart double parking and narrow turn lanes create uncertainly on the part of drivers as to what lanes will be clear. Having two “good” lanes and provision for loading could be better for traffic than the current three-lane setup. Of course this also makes possible the wider medians, neckdowns, and other pedestrian improvements.

    16. Gary Eckstein says:

      Please add a link on 4th Ave. between the Dean and Bergen Street bike lanes and Ashland Place. A protected lane would be ideal.

    17. SPO says:

      4th avenue is a necessary thruway for traffic needing to get from south Brooklyn to downtown Brooklyn. Since the third (rightmost) lane is currently obstructed in many places and few drivers use it, we should get rid of it and widen the other two lanes, shifting lanes for turning bays appropriately at large intersections ie: 3rd st, 9th st, etc. Additionally, lights should be synced at 20-30mph similar to what was done on Flatbush av in the direction of heaviest flow to encourage cars to use 4th av and not our smaller side streets. Medians can be widened and cars should go slower but with less stop-and-go with 2 lanes and synced lights. We do not need the 4th av traffic idling at lights and spewing out more toxic emissions any more than necessary. All focus should be on keeping the traffic moving and aiding mobility.

      • Allan says:

        Finally, someone who speaks sense. We need to keep traffic moving. We do not need fewer lanes and more traffic congestion and air pollution. All you need to do to reduce speeding is to change the syncing so you do not have to go 40 mph in order to make all the green lights. None of the other proposed changes ate necessary except perhaps some minor changes at the more dangerous intersections, but these measures must not inhibit traffic flow.

    18. Ian Dutton says:

      The green phase for traffic traveling along 4th Ave. is very very long. Traffic engineers will say that this maximizes vehicle flow but it also leads to (1) excessive vehicle speeds as there are long, uninterrupted stretches, (2) impatience for left-turning vehicles who must wait for a long period for a light change to make their turn, or possibly make a fast turn through traffic, disregarding the potential for crossing pedestrians and (3) great inconvenience for crossing pedestrians, who might be tempted to cross against a don’t-walk signal. Remove one or more vehicle lanes to shorten crossing distances and then the phases can be shortened for safer traffic flows.

    19. Elliot says:

      When I moved next to 4th avenue 7 years ago, I realized that 4th Avenue can be transformed into something similar to Park Ave in Manhattan and even better. Currently it is highly congested and unpleasant avenue to walk on, especially during rush hour. But if smart planning is applied, I believe it can be transformed into a very livable and pleasant wide avenue that many people will enjoy. My suggestions are these:
      1. Plant trees in the middle of the avenue on the islands
      2. Create bike lanes that will be separated by the small islands from the main traffic (similar to Prospect Park West)
      3. Either move parking lane out to create space for the bike lanes (this will leave only 2 traffic lanes in each direction) or do not allow cars to park on the 4th avenue altogether (this will leave 3 traffic lanes in each direction)
      4. Make sidewalks wider, I believe by reducing the number of lanes and introducing the bike lane, there will be still be some room for wider sidewalks where more trees can be planted creating a green tunnel (trees in the middle and trees on both sides of the 4th Ave)

      I believe these proposals will a) increase the property value of the 4th avenue for development and b) introduce better foot traffic thus stimulating more retail opportunities and commerce.

      Thank you.

    20. Debra Wexler says:

      As of fall 2013, there will be three schools open along 4th Avenue between Atlantic and 9th street, including 2 elementary schools directly along 4th Avenue. In particular, PS 118 opening at 4th Avenue and 8th street is a zoned elementary school with all families living within one block of 4th Ave and north of the school. (The entire zone start 3-4 blocks north of the school itself). This means every single family, with children as young as pre-K aged, will be walking along 4th Avenue daily. In addition to the suggestions cited by others, improving pedestrian safety conditions needs to be a high priority along this entire corridor. You should also consider that a new Whole Foods will open in the Fall at 3rd Ave and 3rd street and that is likely to increase traffic on 4th Avenue significantly, exacerbating already dangerous conditions. Please conduct a Pedestrian Safety Study ASAP and implement its recommendations to ensure our children are safe as they walk to and from school.

      • south slope children says:

        And don’t forget PS 124 on 4th Avenue and 13th St, another elementary with young children needing to cross 4th Ave. There are also a lot of kids from Carroll Gardens walking over to MS 51 on 5th Ave who need to cross 4th Ave every day. The crossing is so dangerous that I know a lot of people carpool and drive their kids there instead of letting them walk, putting more cars on the streets.

    21. Anna Zivarts says:

      Cycling is my primary mode of transit. I live in Red Hook, but often need to cross 4th Avenue to go to other parts of Brooklyn. First, in order to cross 4th Avenue more safely, there should be large bike boxes at the intersection with any existing bike lanes to allow cyclists to be safely ahead of turning traffic while waiting for the light.

      Longer term, I think it would be very helpful to put protected bike lanes both directions along 4th Avenue. There are bike lanes along 5th, but it’s a narrower street and because they’re not protected lanes, they are always blocked by double-parked cars. I often feel safer riding along 4th Ave then 5th where I have to dodge in and out of traffic to avoid double-parked cars.

      Narrowing 4th Avenue to install protected bike lanes would slow traffic speeds, thus protecting other road users and making the street more safer for everyone in the community. Currently, a lot of drivers treat 4th Avenue like the BQE, expecting to maintain speeds of 40+ and running red lights in order to avoid stopping.

    22. Maris Zivarts says:

      Unfortunately, 4th Avenue has long functioned as a three lane highway with traffic lights. Drivers speed in order to beat the traffic light timing. As residential, commercial and retail uses have increased around 4th Ave, this configuration has proven to be incompatible. Traffic calming measures are needed to make the streets walkable and livable. It seems to me that one lane could easily be reconfigured for a bike lane and other traffic calming measures.

    23. For the longest time (may even still be there), there was broken glass between 1st and 2nd streets. There does not seem to be anyone responsible for cleaning this up. I think our area would be served well with a committee that is responsible for cleaning up the sidewalks on a weekly basis. Also adding flower boxes to the store fronts would help as well. Finally, adding flags (supporting the 4th ave partnership) along the way would be a nice touch.

    24. Lisa Toledo says:

      I fully agree with the traffic calming proposals above.

      Of utmost priority, a pedestrian safety study needs to be conducted for the PS118 and PS124 schools to ensure the safety of our children, our caregivers and families in the neighborhood.

      Greenify the middle islands by planting trees.

      Add protected bike lanes. (if there is not enough space, maybe one direction on 4th Ave and one direction on 3rd Ave. The 3rd Ave bike lane has several breaks and is not continuous if I remember correctly, so this would need to be improved.)

      Near subway entrances, the middle islands of 4th Avenue need to be increased, particularly at Union and 4th Avenue. I see so many people waiting to cross at the tiny sliver of an island at this intersection. It becomes very crowded and is very unsafe.

      At Carroll and 4th Avenue, I have seen many cars not see this light and run it, particularly in the northbound lane, probably because it is a short block away from the light at Garfield St. This needs to be more noticeable somehow, perhaps by adding neckdowns and more visibly painted/marked crosswalks with landscaping. This is also a widely used crosswalk for The Children’s School. Moreover, during heavy rains, the water collects and floods (to above the knees during Hurricane Irene!). This presents a dangerous situation with the manholes being lifted and for cars getting stuck, so drainage needs serious improvement.

      Additionally, the auto mechanic shops and car washes along 4th Avenue park cars in the sidewalk, impeding pedestrian traffic flow and creating possible safety hazards, not only from the movements of cars, but the soap, wax, and oil that get on the sidewalks. The sidewalks are supposed to be public walkways and yet they are impeded by these private businesses.

      And this is more of a quality of life issue, but I would love to see billboards be banned from 4th Avenue so that it has more of a residential feel and more of the charm of a Brooklyn neighborhood.

    25. Ken Bounds says:

      Specifically regarding the new school, PS 118, on 9th street there is WAY to much bus traffic with the bus stop on the corner (4th and 9th) as well as the normal traffic. It makes the turning situation worse as cars might turn from middle lane.

      Suggest moving bus stops to the west side of 4th ave. Also suggest instituting a no-right turn policy at the corner.

    26. Mike says:

      Widen center lanes, so waiting to cross is less dangerous. Plant trees along center median or all along 4th avenue. Make 2 lanes of traffic on each direction along 4th ave. Create a bicycle lane on each direction of 4th also. Hopefully all that will discourage drivers to use 4th as a speed way.

    27. ana says:

      This area needs to be much more pedestrian-friendly for the children and families walking to school every day; pollution-reducing and speed-reducing efforts should be made, including less lanes and replacing some of the current lanes with prominent pedestrian/bike zones instead.

    28. Eric McClure says:

      The entire 4th Avenue corridor from the Prospect Expressway to Flatbush Avenue should be put on a road diet. Removing one northbound and one southbound travel lane would allow for some expansion of the parking lane, and the creation of a center-median adjacent protected bike path, similar to the one on Allen Street in Manhattan. Since 3rd Avenue has no northbound bike lane, and the 5th Avenue bike lane is only Class II to Carroll Street and Class III north of Carroll, a protected center-median-adjacent path would create a safe and expeditious route for bike commuters. Combined such a redesign with equalization of the East River tolls would encourage many toll-shopping commuters to exit and enter 4th Avenue at the Prospect Expressway, to come and go via the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel. Combined with neck downs, high-visibility crosswalks and LPIs, this treatment would create a vastly more safe and pleasant 4th Avenue. Add in better landscaping, plentiful benches and some green infrastructure to help reduce the avenue’s flooding issues, and the city would have a model for what a 21st Century boulevard can be.

    29. Jonathan Cohn says:

      We want 4th Avenue to be a great destination street, not just a conduit for cars. A place to go to, not just through. For moving people quickly and efficiently there is a subway underneath. Above grade, let’s have a vital, mixed use atmosphere, a place that accommodates bikes, cars and delivery vehicles to make retail successful, but privileges the pedestrian. Provide a robust landscaping concept that also addresses storm water run-off, street lights at every intersection, and curb extensions at every corner to increase visibility and reduces the time required to cross the street. Three through-lanes in each direction, plus turning lanes is far more than required. Why are we designing for the peak daily 15 minutes? This should be a great street 24/7.

    30. dan kaplan says:

      you should remove 1 lane of traffic and one lane of parking. create a center median with bike lanes in both direction, and plantings/trees and benches on both sides of the bike lanes, separating the bike lanes from the car lanes. the bikes should have their own traffic light that doesn’t allow any thru car traffic or cars turning from 4th ave, when the bike light is green.

    31. Jonathan Twombly says:

      Fourth Avenue needs three primary things to make it a more pleasant and vibrant place:

      1. Mandated commercial space on the first level of all new buildings, and a ban on parking garages that consume the entire first level of a building;

      2. A green median strip, like upper Broadway in Manhattan; and

      3. Tree plantings along the sidewalks.

      If this is done, the avenue can actually be the Champs-Elysees or Broadway of Brooklyn. Without greening it and giving people a reason to walk there (i.e., because there is shopping there), it will be a desolate, missed opportunity forever.

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    33. CC says:

      4th Avenue needs to be much safer for pedestrians, particularly all the children that attend school in its environs. At the bare minimum, the road needs:

      - Left turn signals (it’s extremely difficult to make a left turn without doing so against a light due to traffic congestion).
      - Wider medians to protect slower-moving pedestrians who can’t sprint across all six lanes of traffic in one go.
      - Traffic slowing measures (speed bumps, narrowing curbs) to encourage cars to slooooow down when they turn onto 4th from the side streets. So many drivers go way too fast as soon as they cross 5th avenue, endangering the residents of the area.

    34. SJ Avery says:

      Traffic calming measures that extend/improver visibility zones at dangerous intersections should include the use of permeable paving, or greenscaping, that helps divert storm water that would otherwise rush toward the Gowanus

    35. Ryan says:

      Fourth Avenue is incredibly wide right now and there is so much potential room to make it safe for all users of the road – drivers, pedestrians, and bike riders alike. It is a great opportunity to make it a real bike route, much like Eastern Parkway, that would take a lot of the heavy bike traffic off of nearby dangerous avenues!

    36. George says:

      I’m a cyclist. Bikes should be banned from 4th Avenue, which is a 3 lane high-speed highway. There is not enough room for 3 lanes of cars and parked cars without the danger of being “doored” or worse. Bikes should go to 3rd Avenue which by comparison is quiet and has plenty of room for a protected bike lane.

    37. Eric Weisburg says:

      I’m a city tax payer and voter. I concur with the comments regarding ground floor retail, added greenery and northbound & south bound category I bike lanes.

    38. Ken Kramer says:

      Many great recommendations have already been made and I agree with them, especially around:
      - Turning lanes/signals are essential, as it’s very dangerous trying to dart across traffic and avoiding people in the intersections that have right of way to walk
      - Intersections near subway stations are dangerous, need wider medians, longer time to cross street.
      - A bike lane would be great only if the traffic conditions were slowed down and made safer. The bike lane currently on 5th is dangerous and not very useful
      - More trees, bulbouts, planters, tree guards
      - Benches
      4th Avenue can easily be a much better place with these improvements!

    39. Chris Manley says:

      All along 4th there is a problem with existing left turn lanes in that many drivers don’t move all the way into the lane, thereby blocking traffic or forcing cars to swerve into the next lane to get around them. I don’t mean when the lane is crowded, I mean even if there is only one car and they move there car and leave it in a diagonal position.

    40. Brendan Kehoe says:

      I have seen numerous traffic accidents at 3rd Street and 4th Avenue in Brooklyn, sometimes as frequently as once per week. The City should install a left-turn signal at the intersection as most of the accidents are caused by southbound drivers taking a blind left-hand turn. Overall, 4th Ave. is a dangerous street for children to have to walk down to get back and forth to school.

    41. Chris says:

      2 lanes is not going to make 4th ave safe. If you see it now even with 3 lanes people double park and cause more traffic. So 2 lanes they still going to double park and make it worse. Now if you add a bike lane onto that will be more accidents cause they do not pay attention either.

    42. tracywilson says:

      We want 4th Avenue to be a great destination street, not just a conduit for cars. A place to go to, not just through. For moving people quickly and efficiently there is a subway underneath. Above grade, let’s have a vital, mixed use atmosphere, a place that accommodates bikes, cars and delivery vehicles to make retail successful, but privileges the pedestrian.

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