DOT’s Meeker Avenue Safety Plan Is, Well, Meek

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.

DOT wants to bring pedestrian safety improvements to this around around Meeker Avenue in North Brooklyn. Image: DOT
DOT wants to bring pedestrian safety improvements to this around around Meeker Avenue in North Brooklyn. Image: DOT

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:

DOT is proposing these 16 changes to make Meeker Avenue safer. Image: DOT
DOT is proposing these 16 changes to make Meeker Avenue safer. Image: DOT
  • “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.”

    And it never will if DOT doesn’t add bike lanes. There’s the rub.

  • BBnet3000

    If it doesn’t connect to the broader bike network, just run some door zone sharrows from there to the bike network. That’s been SOP for all the bike lanes in northern Queens, Greenpoint and eastern Brooklyn so I don’t see why its stopping them now.

  • mikecherepko

    What -really- gets me is they can add parking without thinking about an overall parking plan. That’s just obviously good for them to do. But something to make biking safer in a dangerous area can’t be included without connecting it to a network.

  • Exactly. And considering the city’s bicycle master plan hasn’t been updated, I don’t exactly see how they can get the plan they say they need as a prerequisite for connecting to a network.

  • chelsea rogers.

    Seeing plans like these make me wonder who is even at the DOT — are they qualified to be designing for a 21st century city / global leader..?

  • Geck

    As I understand it, the Kosciuszko Bridge replacement will include a bike path.
    http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/38/10/dtg-kosciuszko-bridge-bike-lane-2015-03-06_38_10.html
    Not sure where it will touch down. DOT might want to consider how the bike network will connect to it.

  • steely

    This is not the way to make bicycling 6% mode share by 2020. Nor will these types of omissions double bicycling by 2020.

  • J

    Right, and DOT’s existing bike facilities form a truly seamless high-quality network. Especially, the new 2nd Ave bikeway, which turns into sharrows 8 blocks short of the QBB. (SARCASM).

  • J

    DOT even states that 18% of the injuries were cyclists, and yet they do nothing. Vision Zero my ass.

  • J

    But NYC is the #1 city for cycling!

  • BBnet3000

    If you still believe either of those I’ve got a bridge with a 5′ bidirectional bikeway to sell you. Buy now and I’ll throw in rickety wooden planks at no extra charge.

  • This is why I’ve been wondering lately if it might be altogether better to have a mayor who has a vision of making things better for people who aren’t in cars as opposed to having Vision Zero. “People not dying” does not automatically equal a nice place to walk and bike.

  • Funny, they’re using lack of biking infrastructure as a reason not to build bike infrastructure. That’s a handy argument for DOT.

  • kevd

    no, it really isn’t.

  • Seth Rosenblum

    This is very puzzling. There’s so many obvious places to add more neckdowns, like the existing crosswalk at Meeker and Union. Looking at the slideshow, they even put those neckdowns in their renderings, but not in their plans.

    They’re also clearly missing an opportunity to add a crossing from north 7 street to the park, where everyone is jaywalking now.

  • You are a bright guy and I am surprised it took you this long.

  • BBnet3000

    Neckdowns seem to be disappearing from a lot of new street plans. I’ve yet to see an explanation why this is.

  • Thanks?

  • jooltman

    I like “complete, livable streets” as a goal because it implies no death, but also efficient movement and a pleasant environment for, you know, humans.

  • jooltman

    Yes, in fact they just added a ton of parking in Windsor Terrace, supposedly to calm traffic, but with no regard for recent studies that verify that more parking leads to more driving, they very problem they are trying to combat. http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20160113/windsor-terrace/pedestrian-safety-quick-fixes-unveiled-for-windsor-terrace

  • Paul Benson

    What needs to happen is a complete overhaul of the BQE through Williamsburg and Greenpoint and beyond. Capping sections, removing parking underneath to create a bike highway and connect parks, etc. A la Toronto: https://t.co/nokO4QFvz2

  • mikecherepko

    Every couple years I write to DOT asking for a bike lane under the BQE and they don’t want to. Here is the last response I got:

    “The New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) is committed to improving the safety and efficiency of New York City’s streets and works with community boards to bring bicycle facilities to their neighborhoods. This year DOT reached a milestone of 1,000 miles of bicycle lanes installed throughout the five boroughs. We have no current plans to install bicycle lanes beneath the BQE, however we continue to seek additional opportunities to expand the bicycle network and improve street safety.”

  • Alexander Vucelic

    ask DOT for a protected bike lane on the BQE and see their response

  • Simon Phearson

    What, do you think they pay any attention to how people actually behave?

  • neroden

    So that motorists can speed across pedestrians, obviously. Trottenberg likes murdering pedestrians.

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