DUMBO Street Upgrades: Big Curb Expansions + Contraflow Bike Lane

DOT's proposal for DUMBO (left) includes expanded pedestrian space and a contraflow bike lane. Today, pedestrians have a long crossing on Jay Street (right). Images: DOT [PDF]
DOT’s proposal for DUMBO (left) includes expanded pedestrian space and a contraflow bike lane. Today, pedestrians have a long crossing on Jay Street (right). Click for larger view. Images: DOT [PDF]
DUMBO, where NYC DOT launched its public plaza program more than seven years ago, is set to get more pedestrian space as the city expands sidewalks and reworks oddly-shaped intersections beneath the Manhattan Bridge. The project also includes a contraflow bike lane to improve connections from DUMBO to the Manhattan Bridge, Jay Street, and Downtown Brooklyn [PDF].

The biggest change is coming to the intersection of Jay and Prospect Streets, one block from the entrance to the Manhattan Bridge bike path. Currently, pedestrians have to cross 80 feet of asphalt on the north side of the intersection, though half that distance is marked as off-limits to vehicles by white paint. DOT will replace this painted area with concrete, adding a chunk of pedestrian space and cutting the crossing to 27 feet. Curb extensions will also be added to the intersection’s northwest and southeast corners.

The project also includes a new bike connection. Currently, cyclists heading south from DUMBO to the Manhattan Bridge, Downtown Brooklyn, or the Sands Street bike path must take a long detour (or break the law) because Jay Street is one-way northbound between Prospect and York Street. The new design adds a contraflow bike lane on the west side of the block to eliminate that detour, while converting the existing northbound bike lane to sharrows.

This would be Brooklyn’s second contraflow bike lane; the other was installed in 2013 on Union Street in Gowanus.

Expanded pedestrian space is also coming to the intersection of Pearl and York Streets. Today, the location is an awkwardly-shaped triangle beneath the Manhattan Bridge with a 90-foot pedestrian crossing at York. DOT will add a concrete pedestrian island and painted pedestrian space on the intersection’s northeast corner, shortening the crossing distance to 35 feet.

More pedestrian space would also come to the intersection of York and Pearl Streets. Image: DOT [PDF]
Concrete and paint will narrow this pedestrian crossing at intersection of York and Pearl Streets. Image: DOT [PDF]
Other sidewalk improvements are coming to the intersection of Front and Pearl Streets and along the south side of York east of Washington Street, where a narrow, unwalkable curb currently runs along the brick wall holding up the BQE.

Another aspect of the plan to keep in mind the next time someone howls about a “war on cars”: It adds about 10 spaces to the neighborhood’s allotment of free, subsidized curbside parking.

The plan has already gone before Brooklyn Community Board 2’s transportation committee. DUMBO Improvement District director of marketing and events Kristin LaBuz attended the meeting, where the plan advanced to the full board in an 11-0 vote. “Though there is still much work to be done in the neighborhood,” she said, “we’re thrilled by DOT’s responsiveness to community concerns.”

Community Board 2’s next general board meeting, where a resolution supporting the plan is likely to be on the agenda, is scheduled for February 11 at 6 p.m.

Update: DOT says it plans to begin construction on the project in August, pending support from CB 2.

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