Support a Safer Passage Across the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge

When Greenpoint Avenue turns into a bridge over Newtown Creek, the bike lane is replaced with an extra lane of traffic, contributing to dangerous conditions. Image: NYC DOT

Last July, the DOT announced plans to calm one of the most dangerous intersections in Queens, at the foot of the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge. Greenpoint Avenue is only two lanes wide on either side of the bridge, but as the road crosses Newtown Creek, it widens to four lanes and the bike lane on the Brooklyn side disappears, allowing traffic to speed up. When that fast-moving bridge traffic hits the confusing intersection of Greenpoint Avenue, Van Dam Street and Review Avenue on the Queens side, it’s a recipe for disaster.

To calm the bridge traffic, DOT proposed keeping Greenpoint Avenue at a consistent two-lanes wide as it crosses the bridge. The extra space would have been used to extend the bike lane over the bridge with an extra-wide nine foot buffer.

Last month, however, opposition from residents and local businesses led DOT to back away from its traffic-calming plan. They promised to reconsider the bike lanes, according to a report in the Brooklyn Paper, and to hold a series of meetings with community members to discuss the issue further.

One of those meetings will be held tomorrow morning and Transportation Alternatives is urging people who would use a Greenpoint Avenue Bridge bike lane to turn out. Click here for the details. For those who can’t make it on a weekday morning, you can either e-mail the community board or sign this group letter written by T.A.’s Queens volunteer committee.

  • Anonymous

    There has got to be some kind of barrier there, or it will be a bowling lane.

  • Karen

    This is completely wrong!! DOT is still planning on installing the bike lanes on the bridge!!! This meeting is about the current bike lanes and traffic flow on Greenpoint Avenue. Safety measures and traffic flow measures need to be implemented before they can install the bike lanes.

  • Joshua2468

    there should be no bikes here period- this is a truck route

  • gecko

    Yes, Greenpoint Avenue Bridge is horrifically dangerous. Cars, buses and huge trucks literally speed in the bike lane and pass in the parking lanes.

  • GP2

    This is a waste of time – not a useful route. This is industrial. The efforts should be on the pualski – used by thousands of cyclists and pedestrians each day. There is increasing tension between the two groups of users, only a matter ot time before a fracs breaks Give over one lane of the Puyalski to cyclists.

  • GP2

    This is a waste of time – not a useful route. This is industrial. The efforts should be on the pualski – used by thousands of cyclists and pedestrians each day. There is increasing tension between the two groups of users, only a matter ot time before a fracs breaks Give over one lane of the Puyalski to cyclists.

  • Dave Reina

    This street is a vital artery for business transportation. Ask any trucker who has had to travel through here during a busy part of the day when the Greenpoint side was reduced to one lane. They will tell you they can’t believe the stupidity of the city in trying to stick a bike lane in here. Face it, there are highways that bikes are not allowed on, and there are vital local arteries which should be designed for the smoothest traffic flow and not be a bad compromise trying to satisfy everybody. Bike riders are still a special interest group and have to understand they can’t have everything their way. In this case the greater needs of the community is to keep traffic flowing well in this location. Thats my take on this issue.

    Dave Reina

  • Mike

    I agree with many of the commenters. The Greenpoint Ave bike lane needs some protection, plus the bridge needs to stay 4 lanes, but a narrow bike lane should also be installed. I also agree that something needs to be done on the Pulaski bridge, there is insufficient space on the existing pedestrian path for both bikes and people.

  • J:Lai

    This area would be better served by expanding the bike/ped lanes on the Pulaski.
    Greenpoint ave bridge bike line is superfluous.

  • Never been on this street, but at least from the Google maps view — why not just ride on the sidewalk over the bridge?

  • Joe

    Just got back from this meeting. Here’s a report if anyone’s interested. There were about 25 people present, including two from the DOT, some from Community Board One, a couple people from Councilman Steven Levin’s office. The rest were some local business owners and managers, neighborhood residents, and activists.

    The DOT guys were mostly focused on how to improve the safety and traffic flow on Greenpoint Avenue in Brooklyn, from the bridge to McGuiness. They didn’t really want to talk about the bridge or the Queens side. They had some sketches that have some improved street markings, that add left turn lanes at some intersections. I thought it was unfortunate we couldn’t discuss the issues more widely–I would like to see the bike lanes go over the bridge and continue into Queens so bikers can travel safely between the two boroughs. Right now it is a very hazardous journey.

    There was some talk of improving the traffic flow between Greenpoint and Provost. They might end up removing some parking on Provost between Greenpoint and Kent, to allow the trucks to make that turn more quickly. There was also some discussion of moving the shared bike lanes on Provost onto the sidewalk, which is little used by pedestrians…not sure if this will go anywhere. It might have some merit but would take some work to get done.

    Some of the business guys wanted to remove the bike lanes on Greenpoint, basically so their trucks could go faster. I and some of the other bikers obviously objected to this idea!

    Some of the business guys were also complaining that there wasn’t enough parking in the area. Interestingly, when we walked around we discovered that there were a couple of blocks of free parking near the bridge, totally unused, possibly because the street signs and markings are very unclear. I made some suggestions that those markings could be improved…not sure if the DOT guys were that interested though.

    Overall, it was interesting, I was glad I was present to at least voice my opinion that we need more bike lanes, not less; less free parking, not more. I would say it would be worthwhile to write to the board and tell them you support the bike lanes and sign the group letter. It’s important that they know we are concerned and paying attention.

  • gecko

    Traveling this way four times a day for the last month or so:  With many huge vehicles, the recklessness, and speeds this is an area of high risk even for those in cars — not to mention cyclists and pedestrians — especially those going this way for the first time.  It is badly in need of extreme traffic calming.  

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