Just in time for the holidays, Berry Street got a facelift — the 1.1-mile open street has been redesigned to include distinct two-way bike lanes, protected pedestrian curb extenders, and designated loading zones, plus one-way vehicle traffic reversals for necessary local access.
These updates mark the Department of Transportation’s permanent designation of this portion of Berry Street as a “Bike Boulevard” and expanded pedestrian corridor. Berry Street first became an open street in 2020 during the pandemic and, according to a 2021 DOT community survey, is visited daily or multiple times per week according to 77% of respondents. Open street hours remain in effect from from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.
“The people of Brooklyn deserve safe spaces when walking or biking on our city streets,” Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez said in a press release. “The redesign of Berry Street into a new Bike Boulevard will improve pedestrian and cyclist safety, better connecting to local parks and the Williamsburg Bridge, while allowing local vehicle traffic and loading zones. I thank the city for prioritizing these investments in cycling and pedestrian infrastructure, and I look forward to working with NYC DOT to make streets safer throughout Brooklyn.”
But not everyone is pleased with the changes. During DOT’s public press conference last Tuesday, Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez was interrupted by pro-car activist Raul Rivera with accusations of being a “gentrifier” and “disgrace,” who reportedly also tore up Rodriguez’s speech and other posters (according to Gothamist). Following his actions, Rivera was arrested and plead not guilty to charges of assault, criminal mischief, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, and harassment, and Rodriguez was granted an order of protection against Rivera.
Rivera is the founder of NYC Drivers Unite, which advocates for New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission reform, and he frequently protests other events like transportation-related rallies and City Council hearings. The DOT says that the project is widely popular, but Rivera is not the only one in opposition of the open street, as a Berry Street Alliance petition shows. Rivera did not specify any particular grievances with the redesign during his protest.