Brooklyn’s Community Board 1 meetings don’t always stir up such strong emotions as were on display on June 30. When it comes to transportation issues, folks in the neighborhood seem sharply divided between car-owners clamoring for more parking and the biking/walking faction, often castigated as transient hipsters.
After the tragic hit-and-run accident that killed beloved teacher Matthew Jensen, the de Blasio administration allocated $39 million to make improvements to McGuinness Boulevard. The City’s Department of Transportation was on deck at CB1’s Transportation committee meeting to present their findings and offer up three possible visions for the future of the thoroughfare.
A DOT representative quickly pointed out that this particular presentation only pertained to the design of the in-house project, which can be completed faster and with fewer materials, as opposed to capital projects, which are more intensive and can take years to complete. The $39 million from the de Blasio administration goes toward the capital project.
After sifting through hundreds of community comments, the DOT found that the most frequent issues with McGuinness included the need for walking and biking improvements, aggressive driving, and problems with loading zones.
While McGuinness functions as a truck route due to its size and location, the DOT pointed out that most of the vehicles that use the boulevard are actually personal vehicles.
Councilmember Lincoln Restler expressed his disappointment in the presentation. “There was really strong consensus, certainly from Emily [Gallagher] and I and other elected offices, that maintaining two lanes of traffic for all waking hours in both directions does not address the significant safety issues that have plagued McGuinness Boulevard for far too long,” Restler said during the meeting, also calling option A “inadequate.”
Public commentary on the project lasted for about an hour and a half. It’s beyond the scope of this article to give you a play-by-play, but I encourage you to check it out for yourself here.
Lastly, on a personal note, from someone who watches these meetings for a living, let’s all learn to use that mute button, yeah? It’s 2022. We’ve been at this for two years. I’m tired.