Major Improvements Ahead for North Brooklyn Cyclists and Pedestrians

01/18/2012 8:57 AM |

This is about to get better for pedestrians and cyclists.
  • This is about to get better for pedestrians and cyclists.

Have you tried walking across Kent Avenue at North 6th Street lately? Between the steady stream of trucks and cars, two lanes of bikes, and thousands of residents of the new waterfront condos, it can be a pretty scary scene. That will be getting better soon, according to details revealed last week regarding improvements to the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway’s Williamsburg and Greenpoint sections—some of which will be hotly contested.

At a Community Board 1 meeting last week the group’s transportation committee updated other members on what’s in store for Kent Avenue and Franklin and West streets, in terms of cyclist- and pedestrian-accommodating streetscape changes, Brownstoner reports.

Chief among the many improvements will be built-out curbs to better accommodate the bike lanes, new landscaping and pedestrian refuge islands where currently there are only painted-on buffers. There will also be new pedestrian crossings on Kent, presumably at heavily-trafficked intersections like North 6th and North 8th streets—where walkers cross to get to the East River Ferry and East River Park, respectively.

More murky are the plans for improvements to the north, most notably the contentious project for a two-way protected bikeway on West Street, which might be converted into a one-way street for motor vehicles in the process. During the meeting the Department of Transportation laid out its plans for West Street (its entire length, between Eagle and Quay streets), which include:

two separate, dedicated bike lanes; resurfacing the roadway; improving the roadway width; extending Kent Avenue North; widening sidewalks; adding greenery; and possibly converting West Street to a one-way street.

Other, even more lofty plans for the northernmost reaches of the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway include a possible route through endlessly delayed Bushwick Inlet Park and a pedestrian and bicycle bridge over Newtown Creek (!).

Some of these improvements are years off (or pure fantasy), but others—such as pedestrian crossings and other improvements along Kent Avenue—seem likely to get under much sooner.

Follow Benjamin Sutton on Twitter @LMagArt