bike lanes

DOT Upgrading Williamsburg Bike Network This Summer

Projected bike lanes in Williamsburg, via the DOT

As L-Pocalypse draws near, the DOT sees bike lanes as one way to offset the crush of commuters on the G and J/M/Z lines. With that goal in mind, the agency will begin upgrading Williamsburg’s existing bike lanes this summer.  Continue reading

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On the Struggle Bus: The MTA finally reveals its plans for L-Pocalypse

Alternate Service during L-Pocalypse via Free Williamsburg

As we reported earlier this week, the MTA has taken a glacial approach to coming up with an alternative transit plan for commuters who will be affected when L train service between Manhattan and Brooklyn shuts down for 15 months beginning in April 2019. But, lo and behold! It’s here! The MTA’s transit plan.

The big fix? Busses and bike lanes.

  • The MTA plans to create a dedicated “busway,” and upgrade Select Bus Service along 14th street.
  • While the DOT refuses to designate bus lanes on the Williamsburg Bridge, the outer-deck of the span will be a dedicated HOV3+ lanes at rush hour, catering to busses, trucks and vehicles making right turns.
  • Bike traffic is expected to double, so 13th will feature Manhattan’s first two-way protected crosstown bike lane.
  • There will be new pedestrian space around Union Square, and bike parking on University Place
  • Delancey Street will get a protected bike link to the Williamsburg Bridge.

But, the MTA estimates that 80% of the 225,000 riders who take the L between Manhattan and Brooklyn every day will seek alternate subway routes, and thereby turn to the G and J/M/Z trains (oy!).

  • Commuters can expect increased service on those lines, as well as higher capacity G and C trains.
  • There will also be free MetroCard transfers between the Broadway G and the Lorimer and Hewes JMZ trains.
  • Free transfers will also be available between the 3 train at Junius St. and the L at Livonia Avenue.
  • On the weekend, and overnight, the M will run to 96th Street/2nd Avenue.

Read on for information about new ferry services and street improvements!  Continue reading

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It’s about time! Greenpoint Avenue Bridge gets Dedicated Bike Lane!

Photo credit: Daniel Mauer via Bedford+Bowery
Photo credit: Daniel Mauer via Bedford+Bowery

Whether in driving a car or riding a bike, at some point or we all have experienced the hair-raising ride across Greenpoint Avenue’s treacherous J.J Byrne Memorial Bridge. For years we’ve watched on the edge of our seats as trucks hurdle over Newtown Creek barreling along at 70 mph, cars making the made dash to the LIE, and poor little bikers constantly getting nudged off the road (or worse, sideswiped) by someone not paying attention to the oddly placed bike lane.  Thankfully all of that drama has come to an end with a little help from the DOT. Continue reading

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Brooklyn Community Board #1: Meeting 10/5/11

Girl Talk - Williamsburg Waterfront
© Bao Nguyen

Coverage of Brooklyn Community Board 1’s Public Hearing & Board Meeting 10/5/2011

Waterfront Concerts
The waterfront concerts by Open Space Alliance for North Brooklyn, was a main topic. The concerts will move north, from the state-owned East River State Park to a paved lot owned by the NYC Dept. of Parks and Recreation (Kent Ave @ N 11th & 12th)  The new location has several benefits, including fewer residents and since it’s city-owned more of OSA’s revenue ($90,000/year more in state licensing fees) will go towards improving CB1 parks.

New waterfront venue
Paved Lot, New Venue For Waterfront Concerts

The concerts stir up strong emotions on all sides but OSA has local support because it engages the community board and is proactive when addressing neighborhood concerns. Neighbors raised specific concerns about the events that followed this summer’s Widespread Panic show, where NOX-peddlers and unruly crowds were the last straw for many locals.  Previous complaints of littering on side streets have been addressed by offering volunteers free tickets in exchange for neighborhood clean-up after shows, and this practice has been successful and will likely be continued next season.  A call was made for access to OSA’s accounting to see how revenue goes toward local parks.  Another public hearing regarding the concerts will be held on 10/20 @ Swinging 60s Senior Center (211 Ainslie) 6:30.

© Serious Eats

The Charleston
If you been at The Charleston or within blocks, you know it’s frequented by people who enjoy drinking, smoking and not using their inside voices.  A few community members would like to see the renewal of their sidewalk cafe permit (which allows tables out front) denied.  They presented legitimate concerns: the sidewalk is already narrow by bike racks and trees, so the space in between is frequently occupied by smokers overflowing from the table area. This raises concern for sidewalk permits for bars in general, even those that are more considerate. It would be a surprise to see the tables in front of The Charleston much longer as they didn’t show up to defend their permit renewal.

Transportation
The corner of Greenpoint & Humboldt will be given the honorific name of “Cosimo’s Way” to honor the late Cosimo Tristani’s service to the community. The presentation given by Andre Aviles, his friend from ages seventeen to sixty-three, was moving and heartfelt.

© Brooklyn Paper

More controversial was the talk of street redesigns concerning the Greenpoint Ave. bicycle lanes.  Specifically, the transportation committee voiced strong disagreement, backed up by a contested motion from the community board as a whole, not to support a street redesign proposal for Greenpoint Ave. from McGuinness to the bridge that would involve the loss of all parking on this stretch, about 50 spaces.  It should be noted that this proposal, made by DOT, was preliminary and discussions are ongoing. It was recognized that the current layout is dangerous to both cars and cyclists and changes must be made.

As someone who bikes regularly on Greenpoint Ave,  something needs to be done on this stretch. The most serious dangers are speeding drivers who swerve into the bike lane to avoid waiting for car ahead making left turns.  However, it is important that the redesign protects the bikes lanes better without sacrificing all parking or loading zones for businesses.

Redesigns are also planned for the Greenpoint Ave Bridge and the Queens side of Greenpoint Ave, which is plagued by double-parking and a headache-inducing traffic pattern.

Filming in Greenpoint
Greenpoint is well-known as a filming destination and the community board seemed united in its criticisms of the burdens of filming on the neighborhood.  The main complaint stems from the loss of parking, especially for businesses on Manhattan Ave. Specifically, complaints were raised about the tendency for crews to clear streets hours prior to shooting, leaving locals wondering why businesses lose loading areas for 12 hrs in order to shoot a ten-minute shot.  If you film in Greenpoint, a word of advice is to meet the community board and explain your position.  The board spoke very favorably of one company that approached them prior to filming. The film industry creates good jobs for Greenpointers and New York, so the “go back to Hollywood” sentiment expressed by some was lacking nuance.

Brooklyn Community Board 1 Website

Upcoming dates:

October 20, 6:30 pm (211 Ainslie Street)  Public hearing regarding Open Space Alliance and waterfront shows
October 25, 6:30 pm @ Community Board (435 Graham) Land use committee meeting, including a discussion on expanding the Greenpoint historic district.
October 27, 6:30 @ Community Board (435 Graham) Public safety meeting.  More detailed info on local safety issues and liquor licenses.

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