A stretch of Kent Avenue in south Williamsburg is being updated to include a two-way bicycle greenway, along with improvements to calm motorists and conform the roadway to traffic patterns above and below the area.
The transformation comes after a Community Board meeting in December, where members expressed concerns about speeding on the roadway after a well-publicized fatal accident, which prompted an immediate addition of more traffic signals. Ultimately, however, the Board decided even more substantive changes were required.
Before the overhaul commenced, a street-level bicycle lane was only available in the southbound direction (northbound motorists were allotted a portion of the sidewalk). Bicycle travel was often perilous, requiring navigation between confused pedestrians, parked cars and trucks, and fast-moving traffic (several studies attested to motorists exceeding the speed limit in the area).
Some bicyclists, confused by the abrupt “loss” of a northbound bicycle lane after arriving on the roadway from Flushing Avenue and Williamsburg Street West, would travel against traffic in the southbound bike lane, causing further peril. Others saw the signage to move to the sidewalk, but were indifferent or disagreed with the instruction, creating scofflaws.
The upgrade plan is a welcome addition for pedestrians and cyclists.
“My commute to [Brooklyn] will be complete!” said William M. Vallego, a bike enthusiast who lives in Queens.”
“Riding into oncoming traffic on Kent [Avenue] was not my favorite bike activity,” Alex Eben Meyer, an illustrator who lives in Greenpoint, admitted. “But I also hope that the new buffer between cars and bikes is more than just a coat of paint.”
Additional photos / explanation below: