Last Friday, elected officials and local street safety activists held a press conference to raise awareness of the stalled rollout of the McGuinness Boulevard redesign.

Assemblymember Emily Gallagher, State Senator Kristen Gonzalez, City Council Member Lincoln Restler, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, and a representative from Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez’s office spoke at the event, flanked by advocates holding signs of loved ones lost to traffic violence on the busy street.

Local teacher Matthew Jensen was fatally struck by a hit-and-run driver almost three years to the day of the gathering, lending an especially poignant tone to the afternoon’s proceedings.

Speakers called for Mayor Eric Adams to fully implement the original redesign the NYC Department of Transportation put forth last year. Though Adams supported similar street safety projects during his time as Brooklyn borough president (and supported measures to calm traffic on McGuinness shortly after Jensen’s tragic death), he has since changed his tune as mayor. Reporting from multiple outlets highlights how Adams ultimately bowed to the influence of lobbying from some of his closest advisors and donors, including local film production company Broadway Stages, whose ownership financed a last-ditch oppositional campaign.

The original redesign for McGuinness Boulevard. Image via DOT.

The original redesign would have removed a lane of traffic in either direction. The new redesign entails two peak-hour vehicle travel lanes from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., turning into parking lanes after those hours, and protected bike lanes in each direction. The DOT has already partially implemented bike lanes.


Make McGuinness Safe organizer Bronwyn Breitner called the plan’s current implementation “a failure.”

“There are no measures installed to slow traffic, the bike lane is constantly blocked, forcing cyclists to veer into moving traffic on a highway,” she said. “And of course they’re blocked! Because businesses have no loading zones for their own deliveries,” referring to the original plan’s inclusion of dedicated loading zones along the boulevard. 

Supporters of the redesign say their numbers indicate that the project enjoys widespread community support. The street safety group Make McGuinness Safe recently announced they had collected 10,000 signatures. “10,000 is not just a number for us, but an addition to the DOT findings of a two-year study. We know that a safer McGuinness is what this community needs, deserves, and is supported by the facts,” said State Senator Kristen Gonzalez.

A petition from opponents of the redesign is currently shy of 7,000 signatures. Critics of the redesign fear that the reduction of traffic would lead to more congestion and make it hard for trucks to function on behalf of small businesses, but the DOT’s own data show that most local trucks avoid using McGuinness Boulevard in the first place.

The DOT recently resumed work on the project’s northern corridor near the Pulaski Bridge. A DOT spokesperson told Greenpointers that they would finish work on the section over the summer and the analysis of this winter’s data “soon,” but Council Member Lincoln Restler pushed back against the narrative, stating that DOT officials told him that the DOT completed the process months ago.

“Unfortunately, the data has never informed the Mayor’s decision,” said Restler. “The traffic engineers and the traffic experts at the Department of Transportation have recommended a road diet for McGuinness Boulevard. It’s the politics that are informing the mayor’s decision.”

Jeanine Ballone, a born and raised Greenpointer, pointed out the neighborhood’s immense growth in recent years. “We cannot just keep adding more to this community without a diet,” she told the crowd. “We’re not just a bunch of newbies who are coming into the neighborhood. These are people who have been born and bred here, who understand the commitment of business, who are working class, who understand what needs to be done.”

Join the Conversation


  1. What happened to that poor man who passed away had nothing to do with bike lanes or trucks. Stop using that to push your agenda. Businesses in Brooklyn and Queens need trucks and if you block the only main artery to trucks where do you expect them to go? It will push more trucks on side roads, the exact reason McGuiness was widened in the first part in the 50’s.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *