Aiming to Reduce Car Use Around Brooklyn’s New Park

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Some excellent news just came across the transom in a press release from the Downtown Brooklyn Waterfront Local Development Corporation. The are announcing "the launch of a transportation study that will examine potential future means of providing access to Brooklyn Bridge Park, with an aim to reduce reliance on personal vehicles."

The study is being made possible through a $1 million grant from the US Department of Transportation secured by Congresswoman Nydia M. Velazquez. (Velazquez is becoming a real hero for Downtown Brooklyn. She also recently secured funding for the development of the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway Initiative). The press release goes on to say:

The study will kick off with an open public meeting to be held at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 4 at the auditorium at St. Francis College. The meeting will be the first in a series of open public meetings to discuss access issues concerning the new park.

Sam Schwartz PLLC will be leading a multi-disciplinary team of traffic engineers, transportation planners and architects studying various transportation and access alternatives. The study will focus solely on an examination of how to improve transportation and access to-and-from the park. The study will explore a variety of topics including potential vertical connections from Brooklyn Heights, subway access, bike lanes, greenway connections, jitney buses, waterborne transportation and improved pedestrian accommodations on Old Fulton Street and Atlantic Avenue.

  • OK. So, shut down the BQE on- and off-ramps on Atlantic Avenue down near the waterfront.

    Run light rail from waterfront to Flatbush/Atlantic/Fourth Avenue. The trains can even go beneath Atlantic Ave in the historic rail tunnel for a few blocks.

    Start up Water Taxi service from Lower Manhattan to Atlantic Avenue. If the Nets arena is actually ever built Wall Streeters can hop-on light rail on way to their lux box seats. If the arena is never built, it’s still a useful way to get residents from Flatbush/Fourth/Atlantic into Lower Manhattan…

  • One of the main reasons people drive a car to a park or beach is not just to transport themselves, but all their “stuff”. They should try to have as many of the amenities on-site as possible – water fountains everywhere, lots of places to sit, a large variety of food vendors, inexpensive bike rentals, etc. That would allow people to just walk into the park and everything they can’t fit in a backpack would still be available to them.

  • Clarence

    At my pushing and providing volunteers for, about three years ago we did a survey at a Thursday Brooklyn Bridge Park movie night to find out how nearly all of the people primarily arrived there.

    The numbers were very interesting. I’ll try to do some research to find the exact numbers, but I pretty sure it broke down like this:

    38% Transit (bus, free trolley, subway)
    30% Walked
    25% Car (this included taxi or car drop offs)
    7% Bicycle or other

    The 7% was a good figure for bicycling – of course there is the added ammenity of safe valet bicycle parking at the events (which I started up) that encouraged that mode. One night we had over 80 bikes parked, not including others who locked up around the park.

    Initially what was most surprising was the walking percentage. That is until we realized that many in the surrounding zipcodes (Brooklyn Heights, DUMBO, Carroll Gardens) were walking, esp. since to get there using mass transit was a waste of time.

    I think this shows two clear points:

    1-People in the neighborhoods surrounding already know the best ways to visit the park are non-motorized.

    2-People not as close to the Park should be educated on transit options to visit the Park. Parking lots in the park (which need to be minimized) will be filled by those coming from the furthest away. There should be clear signage from the subways (A & F trains, which are at least 1/4 mile away) and the city really needs to look at establishing some sort of subway stop to make it easier/faster/convienent to visit BB Park.

  • James

    Cross posted this on the Brooklyn Record website:

    The traffic on the BQE near those onramps is heavy enough without removing those exits. Removing them will just cause more traffic congestion on the BQE and is all around a stupid move as there will be no way to exit between the Brooklyn Bridge and the Battery Tunnel. If they want to move them, they can think about it, but I don’t know where they’d move it to. Between Atlantic and the Bridge will be the park, and between Atlantic and the Tunnel the highway goes underneath the neighborhood.

  • Chris

    (1)Establish resident-only parking on the streets of the surrounding neighborhoods.
    (2)Restrict the development of new parking garages.
    (3)Increase fines for parking violations in the area.
    (4)Establish Bike Lanes down Atlantic Avenue
    (5)Provide Plenty of Bike racks for locking bikes.

    No Need for light rail (exorbitantly expensive and bus works fine to/from Flatbush and Atlantic and beyond).

  • James,

    There is another set of on- and off-ramps just around the corner on Columbia Street. It is probably the only highway in America with two sets of ramps so close together. If you closed those ramps on Atlantic you’d have an incredible entrance to the waterfront park.

  • James

    As an Anonymous poster on the Record pointed out, the two entrances are complimentary.b The only other entrance is down by the Tunnel itself and is a complete pain if you want to head West. You basically have to merge with the Brooklyn bound Tunnel traffic.

  • You are right. The two entrances I was thinking about aren’t redundant. However! There is still another set of BQE ramps down near the Bklyn Bridge and at Tillary/Flatbush. Why not just send the traffic down Adams Street and re-think Atlantic Avenue from Flatbush to the Waterfront as a more ped-, transit-, and commuter ferry-oriented street?

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