Pedestrian safety improvements have been completed at one of the borough’s busiest intersections.
Renovations of crosswalks and traffic calming devices for pedestrians and cyclists at Hunts Point Avenue and Bruckner Boulevard, under the Bruckner Expressway overhead highway, were celebrated at the intersection on Wednesday, December 23.
Improvements were made at others nearby intersections as well.
NYC Department of Transportation commissioner Polly Trottenberg was joined at the busy location by Assemblyman Marcos Crespo, Community Board 2, the Point Community Development Corporation and the Hunts Point Advisory Board at a press conference called to discuss the changes.
“By listening to and engaging with a local community deeply concerned about collisions here, we together have created a much safer Bruckner Boulevard (and) Hunts Point Avenue interchange that extends sidewalks, adds pedestrian islands and calms traffic,” said Trottenberg.
One of the more challenging parts of the intersection is the traffic weaving on Bruckner Boulevard’s main service road as it approaches an on ramp to the Sheridan Expressway, she said.
Crespo recalled what the intersection was like before DOT implemented the changes.
“This crossing was like a crap shoot every day,” said Crespo, adding “You did not know if you would make it to the other side.”
The improvements may seem subtle, but they make a world of difference to the people of Hunts Point, said the assemblyman.
He added at the press conference that the location serves as a transportation hub connecting residents to shopping and employment on either side of the overhead expressway, with the Hunts Point Industrial Business Zone nearby.
Community Board 2 voted in support of the bevy of changes, which are part of the city’s Vision Zero initiative, an effort to reduce traffic deaths and injuries, in 2015.
In his remarks, CB2’s district manager Rafael Salamanca recalled that a at Vision Zero town hall meeting, Hunts Point residents said that something needed to be done at the location.
“Today Bruckner Boulevard is much safer to cross than it was a year ago,” said Salamanca, who also thanked DOT for meeting with CB 2 and taking their input.
Judith Raphael, a member of the Hunts Point Advisory Board, said that the complex traffic interchange, and its gridlock conditions, make it difficult for pedestrians to cross.
Traffic conditions along Bruckner Boulevard sometimes can feel so treacherous it can feel safer to take a bus across from the residential portion of the community east of the Bruckner and the commercial area in Longwood, she said.
She believes that DOT’s changes will help to slow down traffic at the location, she said.
The improvements include new pedestrian crosswalk markings and curb extensions across the wide expanse of Bruckner Boulevard and Hunts Point Avenue; a new pedestrian safety island between the Sheridan Expressway on-ramp near the same intersection; new slip lanes between the service and main roadways between East 156th Street and Leggett Avenue and Tiffany and Baretto streets; new pedestrian safety island and painted sidewalk extensions at Hunts Point and Garrison avenues; realigned and new crosswalks on Bruckner Boulevard at Lafayette Avenue and median enlargements along Bruckner Boulevard in Longwood and Hunts Point.
The DOT began the improvements in September. They were all completed in the fall, except for a bike path still to be installed under the Bruckner Expressway, according to DOT.