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Brooklyn Heights

DOT Plan: No More Fighting Over Scraps at South End of Brooklyn Bridge Park

3:30 PM EDT on July 6, 2011

At the southern end of Brooklyn Bridge Park, DOT will calm traffic and create space on the street to take cyclists off the sidewalk. Click here for a larger version. Image: NYC DOT.

Last week we covered DOT's proposed safety improvements for the north side of Brooklyn Bridge Park, where sidewalk extensions, bike lanes, and planted medians will all be used to help pedestrians and cyclists safely reach the waterfront. DOT is also turning its attention to improving access to the southern entrance to the park, presenting a plan to Community Board 6 tomorrow evening [PDF]. The proposal reclaims some significant tracts of asphalt, giving pedestrians and cyclists more room on a critical segment of the evolving Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway.

The southern access point to Brooklyn Bridge Park, where Atlantic Avenue meets Pier 6, is if anything less hospitable than the northern one. Atlantic Avenue is a notorious speedway -- on a stretch further east, cars were recently clocked at an average of 38 miles per hour -- and pedestrians who use it to reach the park must cross BQE ramps. Atlantic comes to an end at the park in the form of a 90-foot-wide asphalt rectangle, where pedestrians and cyclists approaching on the south side squeeze onto a sidewalk only four feet wide.

The most prominent item in DOT's menu of improvements for park access will re-allocate a chunk of that space to pedestrians and cyclists, carving out a plaza and two-way bike lane from all the extraneous pavement. On the sidewalk side of the bike lane, a ten-foot buffer will ensure that truck drivers leaving the adjacent Port Authority facility can see cyclists.

The proposal extends the two-way bike lane treatment south onto Columbia Street, clearly separating cycling space from walking space -- no more fighting over sidewalk scraps. The plan calls for separating the bikeway from traffic with Jersey barriers. The room for this expansion of bike-ped space comes from removing a southbound traffic lane and narrowing the others, which should have a traffic-calming effect. A new pedestrian island will also make it easier to cross Atlantic at Columbia.

The DOT plan also includes a signal retiming and possible red light enforcement camera at the northbound BQE on-ramp on Atlantic.

DOT will present the plan to the CB6 transportation committee tomorrow at Long Island College Hospital at 6:30 p.m.

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