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

At the southern end of Brooklyn Bridge Park, DOT will calm traffic and create space on the street to take cyclists off the sidewalk. ## 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.

  • J

    This is a wonderful solution to a place in dire need of more pedestrian & bike space. Apart from the Brooklyn Bridge, there are few place in NYC that see the same volume of conflict between bicycles and pedestrians as the corner on Columbia & Atlantic. More please!

  • long over due! big thanks to Councilman Brad Lander, the Columbia Waterfront Neighbors Association, the Cobble Hill Association, and CB6 for pressing this issue for many, many months. One thing jumps out though… why no ped island on the North side of Atlantic & Furman. Striped buffer only does so much, and cars come down Furman ridiculously fast… plus there’s a garage entrance right over there where drivers have an itchy pedal foot and barrel over mere thermoplast.

  • J

    Good point. That’s a very long ped crossing. I can’t imagine that turning radius is an issue for southbound vehicles since a median is being built in the middle of Atlantic along the same curve. My guess: they ran out of money to fix that crossing. Let’s not forget about this issue, though.

  • MRB

    This is cool, I guess, although it’s still lacking the east-west connection for me from Fort Greene. Atlantic Ave west of court street (which is easy and safe to get to from points east) is relatively devoid of traffic in the early PM hours, but I frequently have to weave between cars headed for  the BQE ramp on the right-hand side as I proceed to pier 6. It’s been totally painless to this point but I am doubly-cautious at this point

  • Mike

    Try Joralemon from Fort Greene, and Joralemon/Columbia Pl/State St to get back.  It connects nicely to the park roadway behind the condo building, and avoids the BQE ramp nightmare entirely.

  • Anonymous

    I used to ride back and forth that way almost every day from Park Slope to my office in Dumbo or the BK bridge because it is a great flat route from south to north Brooklyn and back. It used to be virtually paved with broken glass. I flatted so many times on Columbia I lost count.   Does this mean there is a plan for bike lane on Furman Street now?  If not, it seems like that would be a GREAT place for a 2 way protected.

  • Clarence Eckerson Jr.

    Damn, still wish I lived in Red Hook now.  I traveled that route far too often wishing it was improved.  Looks damn good DOT.  Thanks.

  • Mike

    There’s already a greenway between Old Fulton and Atlantic, mostly within the park.

  • Daphna

    Is Brooklyn Community board 6 likely to vote in favor of this proposed plan by the DOT?

    The community boards are advisory-only, but typically the DOT voluntarily gives them the say to vote up or down a plan.  There are a few good community boards city wide, and Brooklyn CB6 may be one of those few, but many community boards vote down excellent DOT plans, or vote to water down DOT plans to be less favorable to bikes and pedestrians and more favorable to underpriced parking and speeding motorists.

  • Linda Robinson

    Great plan!  Just one major oversight:  No connection for east-west cyclists going to/from the Dean St/Bergen St corridor to Columbia Street.  The improvements for north-south traveling cyclists are great, but we still need Brooklyn’s major east-west cycling corridor to connect to the waterfront.

  • Brooklyn D

    These improvements are great but they are adding pedestrian space to a quiet section of Atlantic Avenue with very few vehicles.  This plan doesn’t seem to address the more serious issues east of Furman Street, where pedestrians cross BQE on and off ramps that allow right turns on red. 


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