The Department of Transportation is making safety improvements along Greenpoint’s waterfront, installing two-way protected bike lanes and refurbishing pedestrian crossings.
The city is adding a two-way bike lane along a five-block stretch of Franklin Street and Kent Avenue and another on one block of Quay Street. It’s also creating a pedestrian island on Franklin Street and new pedestrian crossings at West Street and Quay Street.
A spokesperson for the Department of Transportation said the city plans to finish the project by early fall after starting construction last week.
“Bike traffic on the Greenway in Williamsburg is about five times peak volumes from 2019,” said Terri Carta, executive director of Brooklyn Greenway Initiative, a nonprofit dedicated to bike lanes on Brooklyn’s waterfront. “This short but vital connector in North Brooklyn helps turn separate Greenway segments into the network that it needs to be.”
For bike-lane and alternative transportation advocates, the attention to this stretch of Franklin Street and Kent Avenue is long overdue.
“This bit of Kent and Franklin was really a break in the safe, protected bike-lane network,” said Philip Leff, volunteer chair for the North Brooklyn Committee of Transportation Alternatives, a street safety advocacy organization . “This segment was a long time coming.”
While the city’s attention to bike lanes along the Greenpoint waterfront is a boon for avid cyclists in North Brooklyn, it may be an anomaly in the year to come.
With bike traffic up and the city strapped for cash because of the economic fallout of the pandemic, officials don’t plan to expand bike lanes this year, according to a report by THE CITY.
And according to Leff, Greenpoint’s waterfront still needs more work to make streets safer for cyclists and pedestrians.
He would like the city to focus on the portion of the ‘greenway,’ the bike lanes that snake along Brooklyn’s waterfront, that runs along West Street. He also would like there to be more “traffic calming” on Franklin Street, which is a truck route where a cyclist died two years ago in a hit-and-run.
As of now, Leff and fellow cyclists just hope the city finishes the project currently on its plate in a reasonable time.
“We have found that timelines and promises mean very little these days,” he said, referring to the DOT dragging its feet to do promised fixes on the West Street bike lanes.