A pair of traffic agents are now directing cars and guiding pedestrians along the chaotic intersection of Guider and Coney Island avenues in Sheepshead Bay.
The move comes ahead of a Department of Transportation study to make more permanent safety improvements at the massive junction — also the nexus of Banner Avenue, a service road, and an on-ramp for the Belt Parkway. Area pedestrians say the traffic agents and possible improvements can’t come soon enough.
“There’s always some kind of traffic coming from every side, even when there’s a walk signal,” said Jhanna Fedotemko, a Homecrest resident who said she walks the intersection a couple times a week.
Cars ramping up speed to get onto the Belt Parkway pose an additional hazard, locals say.
“You’re looking at exits and entrances — you’re looking at four different ways to cross,” said Bobby Asad, a community leader.
The improvements came less than a week after Councilman Chaim Deutsch (D–Sheepshead Bay) took Department of Transportation big wigs on a tour of the tangled intersection on May 27. As a result of the field trip, the agency is exploring additional traffic safety and control measures like medians and turn signals, a spokeswoman said.
In the meantime the councilman worked with the 60th and 61st precincts — which share jurisdiction of the intersection — and the New York Police Department Traffic division to bring the interim agents, which will direct cars and pedestrians during weekday rush hours until new safety measures can be implemented, a spokesman for Deutsch said.
There have already been 11 crashes there so far this year, with three injuries and two pedestrians struck, according to data from the 60th Precinct. The intersection saw 24 accidents in 2013, with three pedestrians and a bicyclist struck, and one injury reported, the data shows.
Local politicians have sought safety improvements at the junction for years with mixed results. Since he took office in January, Deutsch has prioritized Vision Zero — the push to reduce traffic fatalities to zero through better street design and law enforcement — and constituents are crediting his efforts.
“He took rapid action,” Asad said. “This is a relief, and it’s going to save somebody’s life.”
©2014 Community News Group