I’m just gonna slightly tweak the text from my post from 2009 about the Kent Avenue bike lane for this one about a new $10 million two-way bike lane and one-way road conversion project the Department of Transportation just announced for all 12 blocks of West Street in Greenpoint, because once again “local residents [are] claiming the new plan represents too extreme a reduction in parking spaces, and companies making deliveries to [warehouses and construction yards are] complaining that trucks will have to make difficult and time-consuming detours (likely along [Franklin Street]) as a result.” Here we go again…
Yes, sleepy little West Street, which has seen very little development since the same 2005 rezoning that saw Kent Avenue sprout residential skyscrapers, remains mostly lined with warehouses and various industrial enterprises, ruled by trucks, and full of potholes. But the city’s new plan will see the two-way street—which runs between Quay and Eagle streets—completely repaved (and re-piped), converted to one-way for cars, with a two-way bike lane like the one on Kent buffered by parking spaces (roughly half as many as currently line the street).
And, as the Brooklyn Paper reports, the various parties concerned—industry, local drivers and local cyclists—feel exactly how you’d expect them to feel about it: angry, tentative, and happy, respectively.
The main distinction to be drawn between this project, which will form one of the northernmost extremes of the city’s 14-mile continuous waterfront greenway from Newtown Creek to Bay Ridge, and the nearby Kent Avenue bike lane is that few cyclists take West Street. Franklin Street, though narrow and more heavily trafficked, is the favored north-south route for Greenpoint cyclists, and the extra truck traffic diverted there off a one-way West Street will likely make things dicier for the cyclist- and pedestrian-frequented commercial strip.
Of course, West Street is primed for more residential and commercial development, especially with the arrival of the East River Ferry at India Street. As Milton Puryear of the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative tells the Paper, the DOT’s decision to convert West Street just seems a little premature: “They could have waited a couple of years.”