After a contentious redesign process, the plan to add safety improvements to McGuinness Boulevard is finally underway, with support from the office of Mayor Eric Adams.
Though the DOT veered slightly from its initial vision, some hallmarks, such as reducing lanes of traffic and adding protected bike lanes, remain in place. The finalized plan means one traffic lane from Meeker Avenue to Calyer Street and protected bike lanes throughout McGuinness. The McGuinness stretch from Calyer Street to the Pulaski Bridge will remain two lanes during peak hours of 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. After those hours, the outer lane will turn into a parking lane.
“Traffic safety is a key priority for Mayor Adams, and we are delivering with a redesign of McGuinness Boulevard that will make this corridor safer for all road users. Too many New Yorkers have been injured or lost their lives on McGuinness Boulevard, and the city has made significant safety improvements in recent years – both under the Adams administration and with Mayor Adams’s support when he was borough president,” said Charles Lutvak, a spokesperson for the mayor’s office.
“This project will calm traffic, create protected bike lanes, and better accommodate everyone traveling through this neighborhood. The Adams administration has continuously listened to members of this community and updated our design accordingly, and we are committed to beginning work on this project before school starts in early September.”
Several Brooklyn elected officials released a statement in response:
“For decades, Greenpoint neighbors and advocates have been demanding a safer McGuinness Boulevard. Today, we are pleased to reach a compromise solution that will bring real safety improvements to this 1.1 mile corridor that has seen far too many deadly crashes and injuries.
While the new plan does not include every element that we have advocated for or was part of the DOT’s announcement in May, we believe it’s a critical step in the right direction and represents the most significant safety interventions on McGuinness Boulevard since Robert Moses expanded the road 70 years ago. Our offices will push for swift implementation in the weeks and months ahead.
This process wasn’t always straightforward but we appreciate that the Adams administration never walked away from the table. We look forward to continuing to work with the Administration, the Department of Transportation, and our community to make North Brooklyn’s streets safer for all.”Statement from Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso, Assembly Member Emily Gallagher, Senator Kristen Gonzalez, Council Member Lincoln Restler, and Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez
The de Blasio administration greenlit the DOT to redesign the busy thoroughfare in 2021. The agency landed on an option in May after a lengthy public outreach period. In response, an oppositional campaign mounted in full force, leading to a town-hall-style private meeting between opponents and city officials.
Mayor Adams said at a recent press conference that the response from the meeting swayed him to call for a compromise. However, several outlets have also reported on the influence of lobbying from some of his closest advisors and donors, including local film production company Broadway Stages.
In July, the DOT unveiled its compromise plan to supporters and detractors of the project alike, in accordance with Mayor Eric Adams’ purported desire to balance both visions. Mayor Adams also met with representatives from pro-redesign group Make McGuinness Safe earlier this month.
Keep McGuinness Moving, a local group against the changes to the boulevard, said in the following statement:
“As members of Keep McGuinness Moving, we believe that the latest plan announced by Emily Gallagher (via Instagram) lacks feasibility for the entire community’s needs.
Our goal is for the DOT to collaborate with all community members to implement effective safety enhancements on McGuinness that do not create unintended, unsafe, and negative consequences. Unfortunately, yet again, thousands of voices have been ignored.
We are requesting comprehensive area-wide studies using up-to-date data. The community is deeply concerned about the impact of diverted traffic on our residential side streets, delayed emergency response times, and many other issues affecting residents and businesses — not only in Greenpoint, but in neighboring areas such as Williamsburg, Bushwick, Long Island City, Maspeth, etc.
We express our disagreement with this rushed plan. It is essential that all of the community’s concerns are addressed. We will not stop advocating until McGuinness Boulevard is safe AND functional for all.”
As work is expected to start soon, keep an eye on Greenpointers for the latest updates on the project.