Assemblyman Dov Hikind yesterday expressed outrage about the recent installation of pedestrian islands along Fort Hamilton Parkway, noting the danger the islands pose for emergency and sanitation vehicles, as well as for regular motorists.
Since the installation of the islands, firefighters have reported that their response time has been slowed, while the ability of ambulances to quickly reach Maimonides Medical Center has also been adversely affected. Sanitation workers, too, are concerned that snow removal along the roadway will now be hindered.
“Where is the traffic study?” Hikind asked. “When you want to get a traffic light installed on a street or at an intersection, DOT conducts a study. But in this case, I don’t believe a study was done. It almost seems that this location was arbitrarily selected.”
Hikind, who visited the location again today, noted that the 35-foot islands make the street impossible to maneuver. “At one point, an ambulance was trying to pass, and I personally had to direct the driver around the island so it could safely pass,” Hikind remarked. “These islands endanger the lives of people in our community. We will not stand for it.”
The New York City Department of Transportation has defended the installation of the islands, claiming they were necessary to improve senior safety. Hikind countered that argument stating that the installation of pedestrian countdown signals, already in use throughout the City, would have been more than sufficient to let seniors know how much time they had to safely cross the street.
“We have only begun to fight,” Hikind added.