— Mike Cherepko (@mikecherepko) January 13, 2016
DOT unveiled its plan for pedestrian safety improvements along Meeker Avenue in north Brooklyn at last night’s Community Board 1 meeting, but board members and advocates with the “Make Meeker Move” campaign expressed disappointment with DOT’s failure to specifically address the safety of bicycling.
This part of Meeker functions as a service road for the BQE. DOT’s proposal [PDF] would improve pedestrian crossings in the area around Meeker, Metropolitan Avenue, and Union Avenue, adding sidewalk extensions at 11 different locations. DOT proposes adding crosswalks at the intersection of Meeker and Union, moving poorly placed entrances to parking lots beneath the highway, and rerouting the Q59 so that it goes directly between Union and Metropolitan without detouring onto Meeker. At the intersection of Metropolitan and North 5th Street, DOT wants to close a slip lane to car traffic to make way for a pedestrian plaza.
Brooklyn safe streets activists have been organizing for a safer Meeker Avenue for the better part of the last year. The mile of Meeker beneath the BQE is a dark and dangerous dividing line between Greenpoint and Williamsburg. Between 2012 and 2014 there were three fatalities and over 100 injuries on the corridor. The project area is just as dangerous, if not more so, with eight fatalities and 90 injuries between 2009 and 2013, according to DOT.
According to Transportation Alternatives Brooklyn organizer Kristen Miller, DOT told CB members who questioned the absence of a bike lane in the plan that they had not considered it because Meeker Avenue does not connect to the broader bike network. Still, Miller said Make Meeker Move would continue to put pressure on DOT and CB 1 for a more comprehensive plan that includes bike lanes and addresses safety concerns on the parts of the corridor that the current proposal neglects. DOT will come back to the board next month with an updated proposal.
Last year, Assembly Member Joe Lentol asked DOT to improve Meeker, and local City Council members Antonio Reynoso and Stephen Levin also support taking action. Levin signed onto the “Make Meeker Move” campaign this week and at last night’s meeting announced a half-million dollar study of pedestrian safety in North Brooklyn.
Here’s the full list of DOT proposals from last night’s presentation: