DOT Has a New Plan for Bike Lanes on the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge

Is the second try the charm for adding bike lanes to the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge? Image: DOT [PDF]
Is the second try the charm for adding bike lanes to the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge? Image: DOT [PDF]
DOT has a plan to add bike lanes to the J. J. Byrne Memorial Bridge, which carries Greenpoint Avenue across Newtown Creek between Brooklyn and Queens [PDF]. The agency has also mapped out new striped bike lanes and markings in Sunnyside and Long Island City [PDF], which would improve access to the bridge.

A similar DOT plan for the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge from 2010 would have changed the roadway from two car lanes in each direction to one, with buffered bike lanes on either side. DOT mothballed the bike lanes a year later after opposition from Brooklyn Community Board 1 and local trucking and industrial interests.

With two wide lanes in each direction, the bridge has remained a source of constant complaints about speeding. DOT says it has received requests for changes from Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer and Assembly Member Joe Lentol.

Bike planning workshops DOT hosted with Queens Community Board 2 in 2012 identified the bridge as a missing link in the network. On the Brooklyn side, the crossing connects to bike lanes on Greenpoint Avenue, which currently terminate at Kingsland Avenue at the foot of the bridge. About 600 cyclists cross the bridge on weekends and weekdays, according to DOT counts from June 2014.

The current DOT project calls for adding striped, unprotected bike lanes on both the Queens and Brooklyn approaches, with two lanes of car traffic maintained in each direction. On the bridge’s center span, the bike lanes would gain four-foot buffers. Two lanes for Queens-bound car traffic would be retained, while Brooklyn-bound drivers would merge into one lane before returning to two lanes as the bridge touches down in Greenpoint.

On the Queens side, as reported by the LIC Post, DOT is planning the second phase of bike network expansion in Sunnyside and Long Island City. Like the first phase, it will mostly consist of painted bike lanes and sharrows, though there is a short two-way protected bike lane proposed for Borden Avenue.  

DOT’s 2010 plan modified the complex intersection on the Queens side of the bridge, where Greenpoint Avenue intersects with Review Avenue and Van Dam Street. At the Queens CB 2 transportation committee meeting last Tuesday, DOT staffers recognized the intersection’s safety problems but did not commit to any changes, according to Queens Transportation Alternatives volunteer Steve Scofield.

A separate plan would expand the bike network in Sunnyside and Long Island City. Map: DOT [PDF]
Additions and upgrades proposed for the bike network in Sunnyside and Long Island City are in full color. Map: DOT [PDF]
The additions to the bike network would include:

  • Painted bike lanes on the Honeywell Street bridge, which crosses Sunnyside Yards from Skillman Avenue to Dutch Kills and Astoria. Bike lanes were added last year to the 39th Street bridge, just to the east of Honeywell.
  • Upgrading sharrows on 11th Street between 44th Drive and 47th Avenue to striped bike lanes, pending further traffic analysis.
  • A two-way protected bike path on Borden Avenue as it crosses a branch of Newtown Creek just south of the Long Island Expressway, part of a route linking Long Island City to Maspeth.

Before recommending a particular design for bike lanes on Review Avenue and 56th Road that would run between the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge and Maspeth, DOT says it needs to meet with industrial businesses and analyze truck turns, loading zones, and parking needs. This stretch has few intersections, and 56th Road could be wide enough to handle a protected bikeway to keep truck traffic away from cyclists.

Neither the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge bike lanes nor the bike network expansion have received votes from Queens CB 2. The Greenpoint Avenue Bridge plan goes before the Brooklyn Community Board 1 transportation committee on March 17.

  • Commuter

    Is there a reason DOT can’t put jersey barriers or some sort of physical protection in the buffer on the bridge?

  • stairbob

    It’s a drawbridge.

  • chris

    suicidal with out a protected barrier – coming down on either side of the bridge.

  • Lol, well that’s a good reason. They could probably do plastic bollards though.

  • Commuter

    Surely there’s a light option that would work and provide at least a better visual to drivers than paint.

  • stairbob
  • mattkime

    very glad to see this happening. i’ve biked over that bridge hundreds of times.

  • BBnet3000

    Without plastic delineators that paint is gonna wear off fast. Ever see the bike lanes on the Addabbo bridge (from Howard Beach to Broad Channel)? They disappear leaving people biking 2 feet from 70mph cars and never get repainted. Its pretty terrifying.

    At least there’s no adjacent uses here so people won’t park in it like they do the rest of the curbside lanes without protection, such as Hoyt St and Clinton St in Brooklyn.

  • BBnet3000

    It’s the “MetroCard replacement” of bike projects.

  • J_12

    I use this bridge a lot and while I appreciate the convenience that a bike line would provide (assuming it is a protected lane of some kind) I think the location is misplaced.

    The Puaski bridge, which only a short detour for users of the Byrne bridge, has much more excess capacity that could be re-purposed for bike lanes. It also connects with bike infrastructure in Long Island City and the Queens waterfront.

    This is a case where the city could benefit from a comprehensive plan for bike routes, established in advance, and then built out to provide the best possible connectivity while encouraging segregation of bike traffic from major arterial routes for cars and trucks.

  • Olivera

    Are they out of their minds? Can you imagine the traffic having only ONE LANE will create? It will be backed up for miles. This is a major thoroughfare connecting the BQE to the QBB. Why not just make cars illegal? Arrest drivers and deport them. Oh, they are needed to subsidize public transportation.

  • Bebi

    What a mess DOT made on this bridge, it is so dangerous one lane, driver are cutting each other off, and the traffic is backed up for miles.

  • Mark

    I agree. Cars should be made illegal. And the fine for using one should indeed subsidize public transportation. Great ideas, Olivera!

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