Monday, August 20, 2007

Death on the BQE ?

The BQE -- The Brooklyn-Queens Expressway -- was completed more than fifty years ago, in the days of Robert Moses. It was obviously not built for today's traffic conditions. One of its many bad features, from the point of view of today's motorists, are some extremely dangerous on-ramps that are found along its way. (Some of its on-ramps, however, seem perfectly adequate -- for instance the west-bound on-ramp on Hicks and Vine, near Dumbo).

I live in a house from where I can observe a very dangerous on-ramp, the one for west-bound traffic just north of Congress Street. No week seems to go by, it seems, without an accident that I can observe from my windows. Frequently there are ambulances, police cars, and, worst of all, distraught people emerging from automobiles.

The X on the map above shows the spot at which incoming traffic merges with existing traffic. Please note a) because of the curve in the road, the continuing traffic on the BQE has very little distance to see the traffic attempting to merge; b) the traffic attempting to enter the BQE has little distance to observe the continuing traffic; c) there is no acceleration ramp at all; incoming traffic has to enter from a dead stop. As a matter of fact, a stop sign is installed at about the spot marked X.

This picture in an aerial view of the surroundings. I have marked the position of the stop sign with a little black circle.

And here is a closer view of this spot. The stop sign is encircled in black.

This picture shows a car attempting to enter the BQE. It did not stop at the stop sign. Instead it crept ahead slowly into the highway, trying to find an entry. This is the very location where so many accidents occur.

I believe that the driver on this black car did the only sensible thing he could have done under these circumstances. If he had stopped at the stop sign there would have been no safe way for him to enter the traffic flow, IMHO. As a matter of fact, I have not seen a single driver, in several hours of recent observation, who has been foolish enough to make a full stop at this stop sign.

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