Kent Avenue: The Saga Continues

The Kent Avenue bike path was not the most hotly debated item at last night’s Brooklyn CB1 meeting. That distinction belongs to the rezoning plan for the area known as Broadway Triangle. But DOT’s team still encountered some skepticism from North Brooklyn residents concerned about truck traffic. The revised plan [PDF], which calls for a two-way protected bike path on Kent with one-way auto traffic, would divert southbound trucks along a different route.

By all accounts, the new plan enjoys the support of former opponents, including the
Satmar Hasidic community and businesses along Kent that would see loading zones return. While
supporters may have had the numerical advantage last night, they were not the loudest.

"DOT could barely get through its presentation," reports TA’s Wiley Norvell, with lots of heckling coming from residents of North 11th Street (which is already a truck route but would receive diverted traffic). The meeting had already been going on a few hours by the time public comment on Kent Avenue started, Norvell said, and not that many people testified. "A lot of people who were there to speak in favor felt a little browbeaten."

There was no vote on the agenda last night.

No one is dismissing the issue of truck traffic, which could be mitigated, in part, by stricter route enforcement. But the latest plan is the product of an already long and contentious public process. "DOT came up with a design that satisfied those concerns," said Norvell. "There’s never a perfect scenario that leaves everyone grinning ear to ear, but there’s always a safest scenario."

  • Meredith

    Ben it’s nice to see your “version” of last nights Community Board 1 meeting.

    “DOT could barely get through its presentation,” reports TA’s Wiley Norvell, with lots of heckling coming from residents of North 11th Street (which is already a truck route but would receive diverted traffic). The meeting had already been going on a few hours by the time public comment on Kent Avenue started, Norvell said, and not that many people testified. “A lot of people who were there to speak in favor felt a little browbeaten.”

    N 11th is not a designated truck route, and Wiley is speaking of seemingly invisible browbeaten proponents. Leo Moskowitz (illegal detour sign/ scantily clad female bike rider hater) , a former opponent and current proponent (because the south side will get more parking for cars and truck deliveries, with this new plan) didn’t speak. Business owners and residents of Kent avenue didn’t speak. I don’t think a few angry residents of
    N 11th street could scare anyone out of chiming in. Norvell is in a dreamland of Bike Lane heaven. Safest scenario? Wake up. Walk the planned route today and see how problematic the logistics of the route is.

    “While supporters may have had the numerical advantage last night, they were not the loudest.”
    That’s bullshit. Vincent Abate , even though he is 118 years old doesn’t count for more than one. There was no vote. I suppose you are a mind reader to assume you were in a room of proponents of the DOT plan. TA was the only one there TO speak for it and very lamely, at that.

  • So Meredith, how long did it take you to go from disinterested observer (or even blissful obliviousness) to knee-jerk NIMBYism? Did you and the others pass through a stage of conciliatory negotiation?

    If T.A., the DOT and the Satmar just agreed between them to shunt all the traffic to North 11th Street without consulting anyone who lives or works there, yes that’s bad. But to just come out guns blazing without considering ultimate goals like cyclist safety, clean air and reduced auto dependence is not gaining you any support here.

  • teresa

    Meredith:

    You’re mistaken on a couple of things. North 10th and North 11th Streets ARE local truck routes. And a business owner from Kent Avenue DID speak last night: Dave R. noted that the latest design is a significant improvement that will allow his and other businesses to manage their deliveries and loading once again. At a previous board meeting, Dave noted that the majority of Kent Avenue businesses support this revised plan.

    People mostly come to meetings to complain, not compliment. There are many many supporters of the revised plan, but, having made their point over the past six months and having seen the presentation already online and in the news, didn’t attend.

    Dave also brought up an important point last night: the Kent Avenue of yesterday is disappearing. Since the area was rezoned, we’ve seen more residential development – which is accompanied by more need for open space and pedestrian/cyclist safety measures on the streets. So you’re looking at massive residential development right next to the Williamsburg industrial zone, with the community fought to retain. That’s going to be a tough balance going forward in terms of traffic impacts. DOT is being proactive for once, planning in accordance with these drastic changes.

    Ultimately, Kent Avenue will be converted into a greenway. The greenway design process has not begun, and DOT should court heavy community consultation going forward. The greenway process (which the current Kent Avenue plan is part of) started years ago within the community, and the conversations continue. But the community board and the community overwhelmingly support the final design – the Brooklyn Greenway.

  • Meredith

    You seem to think that you have waved a magic wand and that N. 11 th st will absorb this without consequence. I wish you were right. I fear that you are terribly mistaken. If Kent is going to be shut down in one direction , why not shut it down on a big truck route further up at Greenpoint avenue? This way avoiding McCarren Park and a small street like N 11th and having to cross over 5 avenues, altogether?

  • Shemp

    The idea that every truck now southbound on Kent will suddenly encounter this new situation and turn onto North 11th is wrong, but it’s the premise Meredith is working under here. Some trucks now using Kent will avoid the area altogether, diverting from another point in their route over to McGuinness or other streets out of the immediate northside area. Some will go on N. 11th. Some will use other southbound routes. I live not too far from there (and plenty of trucks use my non-truck route street as a cut-thru) and the sky didn’t fall during the recent Kent Street reconstruction when it was one-way for a couple of years.

  • Valaire

    Here is an alternative that actually is logical. The DOT should try using some. http://www.brooklyn11211.com/archive/2009/06/better-kent.html

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