Road Work on Henry Street


Construction workers have taken to Henry Street to install “neckdowns” as part of a “traffic calming” project to make the street more pedestrian-friendly.

Work is nearing completion on the corner of Henry and Middagh streets, but was in full swing on the corner of Cranberry and Henry streets today. Eventually, the neckdowns will be added along Henry Street all the way to Atlantic Avenue.

The “neckdowns,” which extend the sidewalk at the corner of an intersection, are being installed to make it easier for pedestrians to cross the street by making the crossing distance shorter. Additionally, they will also serve to slow traffic.

The road work is the result of a report that served to classify local streets into three categories: travel, community and living. The “neckdowns” are being added to streets classified as living streets, or streets that “provide access to living or working spaces. Living Streets are the local, typically residential streets where quality of life is the primary concern,” the report said. Additionally, living streets should have lower traffic volumes.

Although it was originally scheduled to take place in three phases, the work has been consolodated to two phases — phase one is happening this year and phase two will begin next summer, said Rob Perris, district manager of Community Board 2.


An example of a "neckdown" on the corner of Henry and Middagh streets. (BHB/Thomas Garry)

Below is a list of intersections that will be worked on as part of the project:

Phase one intersections (currently ongoing):
Henry St. and Cadman Plaza West
Henry St. and Clark St.
Henry St. and Cranberry St.
Henry St. and Middagh St.
Henry St. and Orange St.
Henry St. and Pineapple St.
Joralemon St. and Hicks St.
Atlantic Ave. and Clinton St.
Atlantic Ave. and Court St.
Atlantic Ave. and Henry St.
Atlantic Ave. and Smith St.

Phase two (summer 2010):
Cadman Plaza West and Middagh St.
Cadman Plaza West and Pierrepont St.
Joralemon St. and Court St.
Joralemon St. and Furman St.
Montague St. and Clinton St.
Montague St. and Henry St.

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  • Monty

    Wow, the system works. This could make a real difference in quality of life and safety for residents. Did this come from the city council or is it just routine upgrades from DOT?

  • Ohmy

    Thank God! I’ve almost had to throw down because of drivers -especially cadman car service- never stopping at the stop sign!

  • epc

    Don’t get too used to it, Thompson seems to be committed to turning back the pedestrian and bike safety improvements under Bloomberg.

  • JM

    In what way is Thompson “committed” to turning back safety and why would he be?
    Sounds like somebody’s on a steady diet of Bloomy’s Kool-Aid.
    I’m not thirsty, but thanks.

  • Screech

    People are going to have to actually STOP at the stop signs! There’s barely room to drive a car between the curbs! Thanks Easter Bunny!

  • Adam G

    The intersection that really needs traffic calming is the mess where the offramp from the Brooklyn Bridge, Cadman Plaza West, Prospect St, and Old Fulton St all meet, between the bridge and the BQE overpasses. It’s a nightmare to get across on foot.

  • bornhere

    I do suppose this will help; but I would love it if the “neckdowns” (who thinks up these words?) would prevent trucks from making the after-midnight, Cadman Plaza/Old Fulton Street-Atlantic Avenue run in 23, brain-rattling, sleep-interrupting seconds.

  • Sara

    the worse intersection in the Heights is at Hicks and Old Fulton Street. I wrote many letters for a traffic light to be put there,but nothing. I hate crossing this street with my 5 year old.

  • peter

    I agree with you Adam G. someone will get killed one day. than a week later like magic a traffic signal will appear. I also wrote letters to the city about this.

  • No One of Consequence

    I honestly don’t see how these will actually slow down traffic. From the looks in the picture, they don’t make the street any narrower than a parked car.
    By the same token they don’t decrease the width of the actual “danger zone” any more than a parked car. Curb-to-curb distance? That’s a farce. This is New York, we invented jaywalking.
    Perhaps, and only perhaps, it will give the pedestrian a slightly better and less obstructed view of the street and if any cars are coming and how fast they might be going.
    The only thing that will slow drivers down are actual obstacles, like nasty speed bumps (not the smooth rolling type, but the ones that give a bone jarring thump if you hit ’em too fast) or obstructions to force you to zig-zag.

  • Andrew Porter

    This is all wrong, especially at the corner of Cranberry and Henry. I asked the workers what is happening with the bluestone sidewalks, and was told that they are going into the dumpster! If you remember, when Norman’s was made into a restaurant, Landmarks required the contractors to preserve the bluestone, because of the Landmarked area.

    Now, this new contractor is destroying another little bit of our neighborhood, for this traffic calming, which this street does not need. Atlantic Avenue, yes — but Henry Street in this location? Surely not. Oh, wait, it’s an election year. Bloomberg can’t tear down the neighborhood, but he can destroy the sidewalks and replace them with modern, smooth, concrete!

    I have notified the BHA about these actions, and hopefully action will be taken to prevent the destruction of the bluestone in these locations.

  • JM

    Thank you Andrew Porter! Goes exactly to one of my complaints about this admin & it’s traffic Czar. Pushing/rushing these projects through regardless of their real effectiveness, need or in some cases actual safety (as w/ some of the ill conceived bike lanes that have actually cost lives).
    Wait and see the screeching halt these projects come to and the cut backs we see after election day.
    8 IS enough!

  • Monty

    @Andrew, you really think Henry St doesn’t need calming? It is a one lane residential street that is fed by the BQE and has a ton of uncontrolled intersections. I feel less safe crossing there than I do at Atlantic Ave.

  • PJL

    Speed bumps would have been more helpful as there is no traffic light until Clark Street and cars (particularly cabs) speed down Henry. It is tough to cross Henry (and I’m sure older people have an even harder time) in this area, especially at night.

  • nabeguy

    I’m surprised that no one has commented on the loss of parking spaces that results from these neckdowns. The city will probably raise the rates of the remaining meters to compensate for the income dip.
    Speed bumps definitely would have been a viable and less intrusive solution…but the city has to keep people working, so what better way is there than to come up with a costly initiative that sports a fancy name and a fuzzy purpose?

  • Qfwfq

    From what I’ve been reading, speed bumps (or, the better “speed humps”) are the traffic calming solution of last resort. They are most often used on long, residential streets that don’t have many intersections and aren’t major thoroughfares. They can be jarring for drivers to experience, and noisy. I would guess they opted out of the speed hump solution because Henry Street is an outlet for the BQE, there are frequent intersections, and drivers may whine. “neckdowns” are supposed to be a gentler way of slowing down drivers through mental trickery (it seems as if the street is narrowing), and by changing the way they turn at the intersections. It also supposed to give pedestrians less street space to cross.

    If you want a speed hump on Henry, you could contact the Commissioner of Transportation, but it doesn’t sound like Henry Street meets the conditions. However, it seems they’re trying to get a speed hump on Broadway installed up in UWS.

    I always wondered why they didn’t put up stop signs on every corner, and reduce the speed limit, but maybe that wouldn’t have been effective.

  • nabeguy

    Thanks for the links, Q. We can always count on you to connect the invisible dots (or is that DOT’s?) in our city agencies.But I have to question your theory that drivers may “whine” at the implementation of speed humps. While Henry Street may be an outlet for vehicular traffic from the BQE, the stretch between Middagh and Cranberry is also a major pedestrian thoroughfare for commuters to and from the A train station on CPW, including many parents taking their kids to PS 8. I wonder whether those specific patterns were taken into consideration when the overall plan was evaluated or, as I suspect, the brush was a broad one.

  • Andrew Porter

    From what I’ve read, speed bumps, or “raised beds” will be installed on Hicks at various intersections north of Pierrepont. So I can look forward to those wonderful sounds of crashing trucks at 4am.

  • nabeguy

    If you want to see “raised beds”, check out the cement they poured on the corner of Henry and Cranberry in front of the Wine Bar. They raised the pitch by a good 4 inches from the bluestone that previously existed. Look at the front step of the Bar to get an idea of how much they’ve sloped it. Should make for good sledding come the first snow. “Trafffic calming”, my foot, It’s an election year and this is nothing more than union calming.