Coney Island Avenue’s Chaotic Intersection Will Finally Get An Overhaul
After finally winning approval from community leaders, the Department of Transportation (DOT) is moving forward with plans to overhaul one of Sheepshead Bay’s most chaotic and lawless intersections.
City Councilman Chaim Deutsch announced changes to the intersection, where Coney Island Avenue meets Guider Avenue, will begin being implemented this month.
The changes include:
- Installing left turn lanes and dedicated turn signals on Coney Island Avenue.
- Extending medians on Guider Avenue at Coney Island Avenue and East 11th Street.
- Extending the sidewalk on the Northwest Corner of Coney Island Avenue and Guider Avenue.
- Banning the left turn from westbound Guider Avenue to southbound Coney Island Avenue.
- Banning the right turn from southbound Coney Island Avenue onto westbound Guider Avenue.
- Adding greenery and parking along the Guider Avenue median.
The DOT and elected officials have been at loggerheads for years over how to address traffic and safety issues at the intersection — a heavily trafficked area used by motorists to enter the Belt Parkway. The intersection is also crossed by Banner Avenue, which adds to the congestion and confusion.
A 2004 study by the DOT listed the intersection among the top five most dangerous intersections in southern Brooklyn, according to data from 1996 to 2000. However, plans to address the issue were rejected in 2010 by community boards 13 and 15, whose districts share the intersection, for being overly complicated and demonstrating a lack of understanding for the area. Even then-congressman Anthony Weiner denounced the DOT’s proposal.
At the time, the DOT wanted to reroute traffic to Neptune Avenue in order to board the Belt Parkway by eliminating southbound left turns onto Guider Avenue. The community boards, as well as civic leaders, asked the agency to deliver a better solution.
“People were going to make that left turn at Guider Avenue regardless,” said Theresa Scavo, chairwoman of Community Board 15, of her decision to vote down the proposal.
Deutsch said that fixing the convoluted intersection has been a priority since he took office in 2013. He partnered with the local precinct to post traffic safety agents and in 2014 brought DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg and Brooklyn Borough Commissioner Joseph Palmieri to tour the intersection. During that visit, Deutsch said Palmieri was nearly struck by a car when he attempted to cross the street.
“He said: Wow, this is bad. It’s a very confusing intersection,” Deutsch said.
At the urging of the councilman, and with support from the community boards as well as local civic leaders, the DOT conducted another traffic study of the intersection. The new proposal, which was approved by both community boards this summer, incorporates many of ideas community leaders have been advocating for during the last several years, such as the addition of left turn lanes on Coney Island Avenue.
“This was an effort that included the community boards and all stakeholders,” Deutsch said of the proposal. “That intersection is dangerous and at the end of the day, this plan could not be prolonged any more.”
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