After Witnessing Chaos Of Coney Island Ave Intersection, DOT Chief Orders Traffic Safety Measures


Deutsch with Trottenberg, Palmieri and other DOT representatives on Coney Island Avenue.

Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg stood at the base of the Coney Island Avenue overpass at Guider Avenue last Tuesday, as cars whizzed around her, made illegal turns, crossed into oncoming traffic and failed to get out of the way of emergency response vehicles. She stood there for approximately 20 minutes, visibly perplexed at the apparent lawlessness of one of Southern Brooklyn’s most convoluted intersections.

Trottenberg was there at the request of Councilmember Chaim Deutsch, alongside Brooklyn Borough Commissioner Joseph Palmieri and a handful of aides for each. She had already toured other problem spots in Manhattan Beach and said the agency would consider changes requested by the community, but the scene at this intersection – where Coney Island Avenue meets Guider Avenue, Banner Avenue, a service road and a Belt Parkway entrance ramp – prompted a more firm commitment.

“This one certainly,” said Trottenberg. “We have to do some major work here. It’s terrible.”

Within days, the commissioner had ordered a traffic study of the intersection, and Deutsch’s office confirmed that traffic engineers will visit the site to assess new traffic safety measures, including turn signals and medians.

Until more permanent changes are implemented, Deutsch worked with the agency and the NYPD’s Transportation Bureau and he 60th Precinct to bring traffic agents to the intersection. The agents deployed for the first time today, and will be there during peak hours, Deutsch told Sheepshead Bites this morning.

Traffic agents were at the intersection today. (Source: Deutsch's office)

Traffic agents were at the intersection today. (Source: Deutsch’s office)

The councilman and the DOT hope the measures will go a long way to reducing traffic accidents at the location. Since 2014 began, there have been 11 collisions so far, including two pedestrians struck by vehicles and three occupant injuries, according to data obtained from the DOT by Deutsch’s office.

It’s not the first time local officials have raised issue with the intersection, or the DOT’s first stab at fixing it.

Community Board 15 has been a long-time advocate for improvements to the area, and was baffled in 2009 when the agency proposed a plan to reconfigure it that illustrated an utter lack of familiarity with the area.

A year later, then-Congressman Anthony Weiner also took the agency to task for the same plan. Both requested left-turn signals to restore order, but received a cold response from the former commissioner.

In the end of May 2012, the agency surprised locals by installing “No left turn” signs on southbound Coney Island Avenue. We stood there days later, and filmed car after car dangerously ignoring it in the span of just one minute.

As for the other sites that Trottenberg toured during her visit last week, the agency is studying some of the proposals, including turning Oriental Boulevard’s flashing yellow light at Ocean Avenue into a full-fledged traffic signal. Deutsch said he will work with the Parks Department to determine the feasibility of moving the Oriental Boulevard bike lane to the sidewalk on Shore Boulevard. A traffic study is also being ordered for Coney Island Avenue and Avenue O.

“I think it’s great that they came down here,” said Deutsch. “We had all three commissioners here to collaborate, and this is just the beginning.”

  • Will Iannotti

    Councilman Deutsch is by far the best representative this area has had in my 40+ years living here. He is unrelenting.

  • frankiev

    It’s about time!
    Between the lack of planning and the lack of sanity of the drivers in this neighborhood, it’s a tragedy waiting to happen.

  • beginablarp

    About freakin’time!

  • Upsidethehead

    Yeah, right, it’s just THAT intersection. right. Them there drivers is gotten krazy in breuklyn.

  • Andrew

    She stood there for approximately 20 minutes, visibly perplexed at the apparent lawlessness of one of Southern Brooklyn’s most convoluted intersections.

    This intersection is on the border between the 60th and 61st Precincts.

    Over the entire month of April, the 60th issued 19 tickets for improper turn, 21 for failure to yield to pedestrian, 1 for failure to yield to vehicle, 1 for unsafe lane change, 39 for speeding, 146 for disobeying a sign, 0 for failure to keep right, 0 for following too closely. The 61st issued 11 for improper turn, 40 for failure to yield to pedestrian, 5 for failure to yield to vehicle, 3 for unsafe lane change, 27 for speeding, 29 for disobeying a sign, 0 for failure to keep right, 0 for following too closely. These numbers are for the entire precincts, not for just this intersection.

    Maybe, just maybe, if the chances of getting ticketed for breaking the law here were greater than microscopic, fewer drivers would engage in the stupid activities they engage in here.

    Or we could just blame it on the (nonexistent) bike lane and claim that drivers had no choice but to break the law.

  • MrArtTuro

    We need that left turn to the Belt Parkway East. Please try to make them re-instate that turn. (Left turn only light would be right.)

  • guest

    Anthony Weiner was right. Install a left turn lane. This will help a tremendous deal and do more good then anything else they can possibly think of. Hopefully common sense will prevail and the entire population that uses this intersection will not be penalized. This is a chance for Trottenberg to distance herself from her idiotic predecessor.

    • Dan

      exactly there are two lanes there, one should be a left turn lane only, and the other a straight lane only, what’s so hard about implementing that

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  • Subway Stinker

    Polly is a vast improvement over Commissar Sadik Khan, who defined Transportation = Bicycle. Cars were not in her vocabulary. Welcome Commissioner Trottenberg. Kudos to Chaim Deutsch, who is leaving the former Lew in the dust.

    • DOT watcher

      Obviously you weren’t really paying much attention during the previous Commissioner’s tenure.

  • jim beam

    Awesome, keep making left turns to get to the Belt Parkway illegal everywhere though and keep adding lights everywhere. It is working wonders.

  • Arthur Borko

    I’ve said it once and I’ve said it a million fucking times. The safest possible safety measure is for them to create a legal left turn, a left turn green arrow coming off the bridge.

    Drivers want efficiency, making them drive so far out of the way to get on the belt is ridiculous and causes more dangerous traffic on Neptune and Banner Ave’s.

    Creating a left turn signal would make it so much safer and give drivers the time they need. Further more that left turn signal should allow a turn directly unto the service road so drivers can reach the carwash or the Belt.

    I’ll never understand why the hell the city insists on making it more dangerous to drive and more dangerous to pedestrians. The path of least resistance is the SAFEST.