DOT Aims to Beef Up North Brooklyn Bike Network Ahead of L Train Shutdown
The plan will improve bike connections between the Bushwick bike network and Grand Street, but comes up short on Metropolitan Avenue by the BQE.
A short segment of protected bike lane on Knickerbocker Avenue and curbside buffered bike lanes on Morgan Avenue highlight a slate of North Brooklyn bike connections that DOT presented to Brooklyn Community Board 1 on Wednesday [PDF].
The bikeways will improve connections between Bushwick and Williamsburg in advance of the L train shutdown and DOT reps said they will be striped before the end of the year, reports Philip Leff, chair of Transportation Alternatives North Brooklyn activist committee.
The package also includes unprotected bike lanes and sharrows on sections of Union Avenue, Metropolitan Avenue, and cross streets leading to the Williamsburg Bridge and ferries along the waterfront. Except for one segment that repurposes seven parking spaces, no traffic or parking lanes will be removed, which limits what the city is doing to make bicycling safer.
It’s the northbound protected bike lane on Knickerbocker that excites Leff. “That’s a really wide stretch that sees heavy truck traffic,” he said. “It’s a key route from Bushwick into Williamsburg and eventually to the Williamsburg Bridge. That protected route is really gonna help things.” Not coincidentally,
The buffered lanes on Morgan Avenue are “absolutely necessary” to fill in gaps in the bike network, Leff added, but the lack of protection is disappointing. “There are a lot of industrial businesses on that stretch,” he said. “It’s a busy route, I wish there were more physical protection.”
The Knickerbocker/Morgan bike lanes will connect the Bushwick bike network to Grand Street, where DOT will be implementing curbside buffered bike lanes and diverting car traffic in order to prioritizes shuttle bus service and cycling.
The weak point in the plan is on Metropolitan Avenue, where DOT is adding a mix of sharrows and unprotected lanes for people biking under the BQE next to intense traffic to and from the highway.
“Metropolitan is a really busy truck route that’s going to get busier during the L shutdown,” said Leff. “Putting sharrows on this busy stretch of truck route — I’m really skeptical about that. DOT presenters said, ‘We can’t really do anything that would affect the number of car lanes and this is only for a couple of blocks.’ I don’t really see giant trucks racing to get to the BQE ‘sharing’ with cyclists.”
DOT told CB 1 the new bikeways will be striped toward the end of this year, Leff reports.