Following a lengthy presentation by City Department of Transportation personnel of DOT’s proposals for improving access to Pier 6 of Brooklyn Bridge Park, and an even lengthier question and answer session from an audience that filled Conference Room A at Long Island College Hospital, the Transportation Committee of Community Board 6 unanimously agreed to a resolution expressing support for DOT’s proposed changes, but added (by way of “friendly amendments”) recommendations that (1) as initially suggested by Brooklyn Heights Association Executive Director Judy Stanton, a light be installed to govern left turns off Atlantic Avenue onto the BQE access ramp; and (2) as suggested by Cobble Hill community activist Roy Sloane, that a light also be installed at Columbia and Congress streets and that truck traffic from Phoenix Beverage, the tenant at Pier 7, be redirected there instead of to the foot of Atlantic Avenue near the park entrance. The resolution also urged that DOT begin study and planning for a more comprehensive solution to the park access and safety issue, which could include a pedestrian “flyover” or tunnel.
One aspect of the DOT plan that proved contentious, but was not addressed in the resolution, is the proposed re-routing of city buses, which would no longer discharge and take on passengers at the foot of Atlantic but would be routed onto a loop of roads to the north, discharging and loading directly next to the park. DOT’s representative, Ted Wright, argued that this was safer than having people cross a road to get from bus to park or vice versa, and having buses make u-turns at the foot of Atlantic. A representative of One Brooklyn Bridge Park residents argued that this routing would be more hazardous because the buses would cross several pedestrian crosswalks on the new route. He also said that adding city buses to the already heavy tourist bus traffic would increase the safety problem, and would also make worse a noise and air pollution problem.
A major focus of concern was the problem of getting pedestrians safely across the entrance to the BQE on-ramp at the south side of Atlantic. At present, drivers are allowed to make a right on red from 7:00 to 10:00 a.m. on weekdays. Mr. Wright explained that this is because many drivers exit the BQE at Hamilton Avenue and take Hicks Street to Atlantic, where they re-enter the expressway, to avoid traffic jams. Many of those present urged that this exception to the no right on red rule be ended, but Mr. Wright said DOT was reluctant to do something that could have serious effects on traffic flow. Asked why DOT has only proposed to study installing a red light camera there to enforce the no turn rule during the times when it is in effect, he said that the state has allowed the city only a certain number of such cameras, and that it presently has the maximum number allowed.