Planned MTA elevator will cause car wrecks, panel says

Bump out the bump-out: Locals griped to transit officials that a sidewalk extension jutting out into a traffic lane would making turning on the already dangerous 86th Street and Fourth Avenue intersection in Bay Ridge even more treacherous.
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The Metropolitan Transportation Authority wants to remove a lane from Fourth Avenue in order to build a long-awaited elevator to the 86th Street subway station, but members of Community Board 10 say it will cause mayhem, because buses will have to swing out into oncoming traffic to make right-hand turns as a result.

“Taking away a lane on 86th Street is a whole big nightmare,” said community board member Nick Nikolopoulous. “The buses turning there is a big issue, and now the turn is going to get even wider. It’s going to increase accidents, it’s going to increase pedestrians struck, and it’s going to cause a nightmare for local residents.”

Transit officials presented the plan at Community Board 10’s Jan. 12 transportation committee meeting, saying the elevator would go in on the southeast corner of Fourth avenue and 86th Street (next to the S79 bus stop and Greek restaurant) and would require the city to bump out the sidewalk there into one lane of Fourth Avenue to accommodate the lift.

But Fourth Avenue bus drivers turning right onto 86th Street already have to swing out into oncoming traffic so they can make the turn without running over the curb — and narrowing the street will force drivers to cheat out even further into opposing traffic, potentially endangering drivers and pedestrians alike, according to Community Board 10’s district manager.

“When you have a bump-out, it requires a bus to make a larger swing around, and we’ve seen buses that have to cross the double yellow and have trouble with the turn now,” said Josephine Beckmann. “It is difficult. So the thought of taking away a parking lane — we’re just really concerned about the impact on pedestrian and vehicular safety. And yeah, you may be able to make a turn, but do they understand there is upwards of six buses converging to make a turn? It’s a really dangerous spot.”

In the last five years, there have been 21 car crashes at the intersection, six pedestrians were struck, and one was killed, according to city data. The crossing is a transportation hub, and the S79 and B1 use that corner to turn from Fourth Avenue onto 86th Street.

Transit officials were sympathetic to locals concerns, but said that eliminating the bump-out could also mean bumping the lift altogether.

“We’ll go back and find out what the options are, but saying that, it could have an impact on us getting an elevator at that station,” said authority rep Melissa Farley. “It’s not really an option for us to expand to other platforms or go to other corners. We took a lot of time with this, and to get the elevator in, this is what we need to do. We can certainly go back and talk to [the Department of Transportation] but trying to not have this bump-out could seriously impact getting an elevator at that station.”

The station has an entrance at 85th Street at Fourth Avenue, but the authority cannot put the elevators there because it is using space in that end of the station to house recently installed wifi equipment, according to a design manager with the authority’s transit division.

Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials will further discuss the plan with their bus division and the city’s Department of Transportation before coming back to the community board, reps said.

The authority is installing a non-controversial elevator on the other side of Fourth Avenue, as well. Construction will take 26 months, with the west-side elevator coming online at the end of the year and the controversial, east-side lift finished in the middle of 2018.

Reach reporter Caroline Spivack at or by calling (718) 260–2523. Follow her on Twitter @carolinespivack.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Pedro Valdez Rivera Jr. from BS, BK, NY, US says:
A catch-22: The disabled and the elderly are desperately want an elevator at 86th Street R train subway station; but more traffic tie-ups in one of the busiest intersections in Bay Ridge. What are the overall trade offs? I'm not entirely sure.
Jan. 16, 2017, 9:33 am
MJ from Bay Ridge says:
hmm. why does the 86 Street station needs TWO elevators from two street corners? Would ONE elevator on the west side of 4 Avenue is satisfied. All a person has to do is cross the street.
Jan. 16, 2017, 7:57 pm
Jim from Cobble Hill says:
Cars Cars Cars! Oh I need my SUV in New York City because... reasons! If people didn't drive like maniacs, this wouldn't be an issue. If you just can't live without a car, then you belong in the suburbs!
Jan. 17, 2017, 9:15 am
Tyler from pps says:
Is all of this hand-wringing because of the 2 staten island buses that do a loop around here? Umm... have then make the loop one block bigger, or, I dunno... ignore these idiots. The bump out will cause the buses to pull into oncoming traffic?! Oh lord. No.
Jan. 17, 2017, 11:26 am
Common Sense from Bay ridge says:
Who thinks of these ideas? someone just has a random thought and thinks let's do it. I agree it would be better to have one elevator in the middle of the block away from the corner. OR if you really want to spend some money.... transform the entrance on 86 street from a staircase to an escalator.$$$
Jan. 17, 2017, 1:47 pm
AMH says:
The story doesn't explain why the two elevators are needed at street level. 86 St is a single island platform so it's not like they're leading to separate platforms.
Jan. 17, 2017, 4:35 pm
Senator Street from Bay Ridge says:
As if idiot Bay Ridge drivers need an 'excuse' to CAUSE an accident.

How about they start obeying STOP SIGNS and RED LIGHTS, and then we'll talk nuance.
Jan. 17, 2017, 5:35 pm
Tom from NY says:
Take the stairs away from that entrance. Elevator only entrance on that side. Result -Elevator entrance no longer goes into the street.
Jan. 18, 2017, 1:41 am
Tom from NY says:
More elevators are needed across the city. Plenty of people have baby strollers and need equal access.
Jan. 18, 2017, 1:42 am
Honeycita from Wiliamsburg says:
Tom - not just people with babies. I weigh 350 pounds - I ain't taking no dang azz stairs! Also the subway seats are too small! I cannot fit my fat butt into them!! And what about lifting devices to help me raise my big butt out of the seat when I get to my station? Doing it myself puts my knees in danger of injury from carrying so much weight!
Jan. 18, 2017, 9:59 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Although I do understand that the disabled need access to subway stations, I do feel that there is better place for that elevator such as placing it to the right of the subway entrance that is shown so that no traffic lanes will have to be removed for this, plus it won't even block the sidewalk.
Jan. 18, 2017, 4:42 pm
Mike Quill from Underground says:
36th street and 59th street which are served by mutiple train lines both local and express do not have elevators. Why does 86th street get priority? For the shoppers?
Jan. 19, 2017, 8:40 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Looking at that picture, they can just place that elevator in between the two subway entrances and it won't block anything since most won't be walking between the two anyway.
Jan. 19, 2017, 4:49 pm
Jean from Bay Ridge says:
I wonder why the WiFi planning did not coordinate with the elevator planning?

Some people wondered why 2 elevators are needed. It's because the elevators often malfunction.

86th Street on the R has to be completed by 2020 because it is a key station, one of 100 that the MTA agreed to make accessible after a lawsuit in the 80's. It would be wonderful if other stations like 36th and 59th also got elevators.
Jan. 21, 2017, 12:07 am
Me from Bed- Stuy says:
All this complaining about one elevator, what is wrong with you people. Clearly none of you have experienced other train lines. Take my line, the G Train, for example. Out of all 21 stations on the train line, only ONE station, Church Avenue, has an elevator, and that station only has 1 elevator to the street. And what about the 42nd Street Shuttle, which isn't even ADA accessible at all. This station is planned to get two elevators, but if one elevator is going to cause problems, then don't even put it. There, problem solved.
Jan. 22, 2017, 10:32 am
Mike Quill from Underground says:
Right now the only elevator on the Fourth Avenue lines [D,N,R] is at the Atlantic/Pacific/Barclays station so the situation is the same as yours on the G line.
Jan. 25, 2017, 7:34 am
Cam from Bay Ridge says:
Tal, there aren't two subway entrances in the picture. You would know this if you lived there, but you insist on butting into debate about a local issue 45 miles from where you live. Get a new hobby.
March 29, 2017, 4:46 pm

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