Both ends of Brooklyn Bridge Park—Atlantic Avenue to the south and Old Fulton Street to the north—are confusing traffic enigmas full of conflicting signage, strange street patterns and, right now, throngs of pedestrians and cyclists headed for the waterfront park. But Streetsblog reports that the Department of Transportation has plans for both the north and south entrances to the park that will make things much clearer and safer for everyone.
The most substantial and unusual improvements will be made at the wacky intersection of Old Fulton, Furman, Everitt and Water streets (see plan above), where a Times Square-style pedestrian plaza will replace one prong of currently-forked Old Fulton Street, providing a whole lot more room for people lining up to eat at Grimaldi’s while maintaining on-street parking and doing away with much illegal parking. Real painted bike lanes will replace the current bike markings, and a planted median will be installed along Old Fulton Street. Additional improvements included expanded sidewalks at the corner of Front Street and the BQE ramps, new crosswalks and pedestrian signals and a much wider crosswalk going across Water Street.
Down at Atlantic Avenue and Furman Street, where there’s currently a big stubby lot where nobody goes and the waterfront bike greenway ends abruptly at the corner of Columbia Street, a bike lane extension will lead cyclists seamlessly onto the park’s lane, and pedestrian improvements will make the concrete expanse—which serves as the entrance to adjacent Port Authority property—less expansive. A planted pedestrian island at the intersection of Furman and Atlantic and new plaza space along the south side of Atlantic will be the biggest changes, along with widened bike lanes coming off Columbia Street that will take away one lane of traffic.
The Department of Transportation plan (PDF) for the south end of the park goes before Community Board 6 for approval tonight. Last week Community Board 2’s transportation committee voted in favor of the improvements along Old Fulton Street by a vote of 7-2 with one abstention.
All these improvements, presumably, are in response to residents’ complaints earlier this year that Brooklyn Bridge Park is difficult to reach due to dangerous and confusing cars-first traffic patterns. Or maybe it’s all a ploy to entice future condo buyers?