Traffic-Calming Road Diet Could Come to Fourth Avenue in Park Slope

Fourth Avenue in Park Slope is slated for a road diet that will shorten crossing distances for pedestrians. Image: NYC DOT

For years, Fourth Avenue has been identified as one of Brooklyn’s most dangerous streets for pedestrians. Recently, DOT has been working neighborhood-by-neighborhood — in Bay Ridge, Sunset Park, and Park Slope — to redesign Fourth Avenue for greater safety. Last week, the agency unveiled its proposals to calm traffic and add pedestrian space on 28 blocks of Fourth Avenue, from 15th Street to Pacific Street.

The Park Slope proposal [PDF] resembles the changes implemented last year in Sunset Park. On most of this stretch, traffic lanes would be reduced from three lanes in each direction to two, providing room for painted curb and median extensions. The northbound lanes from Union Street to Atlantic Avenue — where motor vehicle traffic is heaviest, especially during the morning rush — will retain the existing three-lane configuration.

DOT is also proposing to daylight intersections — removing car parking so motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians can see each other better — and introduce bike corrals and planters near St. Mark’s Place, Union Street, Carroll Street, and 10th Street.

The proposal calls for restricting left turns from Fourth Avenue onto Dean, Butler, Degraw, 8th, and 13th Streets. In addition, 3rd and 9th Streets would receive left-turn restrictions, but from southbound Fourth Avenue only. The restriction at 9th Street would eliminate the dedicated turn lane currently in place at the intersection, creating space for a wider median to accommodate the high number of people walking to the subway. (The 9th Street intersection sees more crashes than any other along this stretch of Fourth Avenue.)

Medians at intersections where turn restrictions are introduced would be widened from two feet to 18 feet. Many of these wider medians are near schools — specifically P.S. 133, P.S. 118, and P.S. 124. At intersections that retain turn lanes, the two-foot medians would be widened to six feet.

At the busy northern end of Fourth Avenue as it approaches Atlantic Avenue, DOT is proposing adding planters to the median and widening the sidewalk near the subway entrance on the northwest corner with Pacific Street.

Efforts to improve safety on Fourth Avenue have been in the works for years. In 2010, Borough President Marty Markowitz released a vision plan for the street. The following year, Markowitz created the Fourth Avenue Task Force, and the Park Slope Civic Council launched its Forth on Fourth Avenue initiative. In 2012, community planning sessions began, with a 50-block stretch in Sunset Park seeing the first improvements last fall.

On May 16, DOT will present the Park Slope plan to Community Board 6, followed by CB 2 on May 21. Changes could be implemented by the end of the year. Meanwhile, a redesign of Fourth Avenue in Bay Ridge is also moving forward, with a DOT presentation before Community Board 10′s transportation committee anticipated in May.