DOT Unveils Livable Streets Makeover for Approach to Brooklyn Bridge Park

The Old Fulton Street redesign imposes some order, reclaims space for pedestrians, and fortifies bike routes. Image: NYC DOT

Last week NYC DOT presented plans for expanded pedestrian areas and upgraded bike markings on Old Fulton Street, which serves as the primary gateway to the recently opened Pier 1 of Brooklyn Bridge Park. The plan [PDF] calls for a new pedestrian plaza, treatments to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists crossing highway exits, and a concrete median intended to prevent illegal parking and bus drop-offs in the middle of Old Fulton Street. The transportation committee of Brooklyn Community Board 2 approved the plan in a 7-2 vote with one abstention.

Old Fulton Street is seeing a lot more use since the opening of Pier 1 last year, and it should only attract more people as the park adds new sections. The street also leads right to Fulton Ferry Landing, one of the stops along the route of the city’s new East River ferry service. But Old Fulton Street currently meets the park and the ferry landing with big open expanses of asphalt, leading to something of a free-for-all among drivers and buses making drop-offs at the park.

The redesign aims to impose some order, give priority to pedestrians, and prevent buses from unloading passengers and making U-turns at the end of Old Fulton Street. Tour buses will be encouraged to load and unload on Furman Street, out of the way of the main walking and biking routes to the park.

The full project includes a number of features to make walking and biking to the park safer and more convenient:

  • Sidewalk extensions, planted medians, and crosswalks where Old Fulton Street crosses entrances and exits to the Brooklyn Queens Expressway
  • Additions to the bike network: Sharrows on Old Fulton will be upgraded to striped lanes, and a short stretch of Front Street will get new markings, enhancing the connection between DUMBO and the route of the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway
  • A neckdown where York Street empties onto Front Street will narrow the crossing distance from 71 feet to 25 feet

As part of the reconfiguration, the B25 will be re-routed to avoid performing a U-turn on Old Fulton on weekends, most likely by following the same circuit it takes on weekdays. More details from the DOT presentation after the jump.

Currently the open asphalt at the end of Old Fulton Street leads to a lot of illegal parking, U-turns, and drop-offs in the middle of the street. Image: NYC DOT
New plaza space on Old Fulton Street should give people some breathing room on the sidewalk even when the line at Grimaldi's is at its longest. It's hard to tell from the rendering, but the project also adds striped bike lanes to both sides of this block. Image: NYC DOT
Further inland, the project would add new sidewalk space and medians where Old Fulton meets traffic heading to and from the BQE. Image: NYC DOT
  • awesome. I’m shocked 2 members of the commitee didn’t vote for it. it’s a crazy wide area that needs the makeover. Wonder if they could/should do some more amenities for bus drop offs on Furman with this though.

  • Danny G

    any left turn treatment at fulton and front?

    i never even knew i could go there and always wind up at cadman plaza.

  • Anon

    this looks amazing…

  • Linda Robinson

    Great!  These ideas are from Sam Schwartz Engineering’s Brooklyn Bridge Transportation and Access Study, conducted for the Downtown Brooklyn Waterfront Local Development Corporation – great to see them implemented!

  • Linda Robinson

    Great!  These ideas are from Sam Schwartz Engineering’s Brooklyn Bridge Transportation and Access Study, conducted for the Downtown Brooklyn Waterfront Local Development Corporation – great to see them implemented!

  • Awesome.  The service station at Everit (Columbia) & Fulton has been using the median to park cars for years. 

    One concern though: there’s been a huge jump in BQE bypass traffic along York to Front to Fulton to Furman in the past 12-18 months (even with the construction in DUMBO).  The drivers treat the stoplights and stop signs as irritable suggestions.  Is there any way to protect riders in the bike lane from these idiots?

  • Looks nice (though didn’t Grimaldi’s lose its lease?).

  • carma

    actually if you google map the area.  most of the trucks parked in the median area are Verizon service vans.

    the area has been a mess for the last 3 years due to the seemingly endless construction in the area.

    i am pretty sure traffic has gotten worse b/c of the construction, and not b/c ppl all of a sudden realized that this bqe bypass saves you from being stuck on the bqe.

  • Alex

    Awesome.  But now it’s time to fix the approaches to Pier 6 and start giving tickets to drivers who ignore the new rules to get onto the BQE off Atlantic.  When I’m driving through there I sit at the red light to go left onto the BQE while cars stream around me – right on red is bad enough, but left on red?!  The Pier 6 pedestrian approaches are even more dangerous, the end of the Columbia St shared bike/walking path is chaos (and really, a shared bike walking path 8ft wide?  recipe for disaster!).  The path just ends, putting bikes on the sidewalk on the wrong side of the road, headed for either oncoming traffic or a really narrow sidewalk with a bus stop!  I ride through both the Pier 6 and Pier 1 areas almost every work day, and I’m glad it’s not as crazy during the week as it is on the weekend.

  • Alex

    Forgot to mention the partially blind corner where the bike path ends, leads to a lot of startled pedestrians.

  • Tom

    I was under the impression that the proposal was only tentatively “approved” pending further public community review and the presentation of a more detailed analysis by DOT including their expressed “need” for the construction of additional sidewalks to help certain commercial interests (i.e. Grimaldi’s), the “need” for the reduction of vegetation, and the new traffic patterns that would be created (which would include the problematic B25 Bus route which would now be coming much more frequently than it already does down Main St. in Dumbo).

    On another note, why is such a MAJOR community architectural/beautification project being designed and implemented by DOT staff members? Has this design process ever been opened up to accomplished local architects and/or landscape designers, etc. who might be able to create a much more dynamic proposal and create something truly astonishing for this beloved and important area, rather than the current proposal that basically utilizes the same old cheap DOT green paint, gravel, cement planters, and a few trees? This slapdash approach makes no sense. Now is the time to implement something of beauty here that will be an appropriate entrance to the park, Fulton Ferry Landing, and to Dumbo.

  • Eagle Resident

    Can DOT design something to stop visitors from using Elizabeth Place as a urinal?  


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