The Department of Transportation unveiled a new design for one of Brooklyn’s most important transit hubs at a community board meeting Monday evening. By turning a single block of Van Sinderen Avenue into a one-way street, DOT plans to improve bus service and build new pedestrian space at East New York’s Broadway Junction, which serves five subway lines and five bus routes [PDF].
As it is, there’s not enough space near the main bus stop in the area. Livery cabs, which don’t have any designated curbside space, crowd out the buses that are supposed to stop there, forcing them to load and unload in traffic lanes. The sidewalk is packed with pedestrians and vendors; there’s no room available for badly-needed bus shelters and seating. Busy Van Sinderen is also difficult for pedestrians to cross.
Under DOT’s proposal, the block of Van Sinderen between Truxton and Fulton Streets would be converted into a one-way street with only one southbound lane reserved for private through traffic. Two lanes would be dedicated to buses, allowing plenty of room for them to pull around other buses loading and unloading at a different stop.
Both the sidewalk and the existing median would be expanded into the roadway, creating room for new bus shelters and dramatically shortening the distance to cross Van Sinderen.
Finally, DOT plans to designate space along the north side of the median for both drop-offs and pick-ups, to accommodate livery drop-offs and the NYPD vehicles currently parked along the block.
The design should unclog the intersection and make it far easier to transfer from the subway to the bus. One bus route, the B20, would have to detour on the northbound run due to the conversion of Van Sinderen to a one-way.
Construction on the project is expected to begin next year and conclude in 2014.
The project dates back to 2008, when Congressman Ed Towns hosted a community meeting aimed at improving the station. Towns got an $800,000 earmark to support the planning of the project and last year, the Federal Transit Administration put up $3.4 million from its competitive Bus Livability Grant program.
The Department of City Planning is currently at work on a project to encourage transit-oriented development around the East New York LIRR station, two blocks away.