Greenpoint takes Manhattan!
Several concerned Greenpoint residents, alongside North Brooklyn and city-wide elected officials alike, gathered in front of City Hall on Thursday morning. The goal? To call out Mayor Eric Adams’s recent decision to block the long-awaited redesign of McGuinness Boulevard.
The redesign plan counts the support of every North Brooklyn elected official, several of whom joined in person. Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso and a representative from Comptroller Brad Lander’s office also appeared at the event.
“When Mayor Adams ran for office, he told us he cared about safe streets. He told us he wanted to make Vision Zero a reality. He told us that public safety was paramount,” City Council Member Lincoln Restler told the crowd. “This is a plan about public safety. We suffer a crash a week, an injury a week, on McGuinness Boulevard. Our community is dying from the traffic on McGuinness Boulevard. This is a plan to actually make us safe.”
A lone heckler temporarily halted the day’s proceedings, interrupting Antonio Reynoso, though the crowd eventually drowned him out with a chant of “Safe streets now!” The heckler continued to yell through a megaphone for the rest of the event.
Dan Wiley, a staffer from Representative Nydia Velázquez’s office, also spoke. “Removing one lane of traffic will make it safer and it’s only a one mile stretch. Why are we maintaining extra lanes for cut through traffic that want to shave off a few minutes by getting off of one highway and get on the Long Island Expressway, or the Lincoln Tunnel, or take the other exits into this borough? Why are we accommodating that?”
Council Member Lincoln Restler delivered the petition to the Mayor’s Office, alongside a few other supporters.
After the tragic death of beloved teacher Matthew Jensen in 2021, the City’s Department of Transportation spent several years collecting community feedback and studying traffic patterns on McGuinness Boulevard with the goal of redesigning the notorious thoroughfare. After the DOT narrowed down a redesign plan this past May, an oppositional campaign mounted in full force, partially spearheaded by the Argento family, Adams donors who own the local film and TV production company, Broadway Stages.
Reporting from Streetsblog NYC and THE CITY reveals that Adams specifically turned to close advisor Ingrid Lewis-Martin, who has previously attempted to block other Open Streets and congestion-pricing measures, to make his final decision. Lewis-Martin told Adams that the plan’s supporters were all from outside of the community, though Make McGuinness Safe says that 66% of their petition signers reside in Brooklyn Community Board 1 and are residents of Greenpoint or Williamsburg.
At a recent press conference, Adams told reporters that he was swayed by the response from an oppositional town hall hosted at Broadway Stages, though he deflected when pressed on the thousands of petition supporters in favor of the redesign, making a face at the mention of Council Member Restler before asking “Next question!”
Both the campaign to Make McGuinness Safe and Keep McGuinness Moving tout the support of local residents and businesses. The Make McGuinness Safe petition collected over 7,000 names, at last count, and the Keep McGuinness Moving petition is just shy of 6,000 names.
It is unclear what the next steps, or a potential new timeline, are for the plan.