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Brooklyn Rides de Blasio’s ‘Green Wave’ with 10 Miles of PBLs This Year

DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg (Ieft with TransAlt Executive Director Danny Harris and StreetsPAC Executive Director Eric McClure) in better days. Photo: Gersh Kuntzman

Brooklyn — where the majority of cyclists died last year — will get 10 miles of new protected bike lanes this year, a sizable portion of the 30 new miles of protection that the de Blasio administration promised as part of its "Green Wave" plan announced last year as the city death toll increased for the first time in the Vision Zero era.

Some new lanes were previously announced — such as along Fourth Avenue and Flatbush Avenue on the eastern side of Prospect Park — but some are new, including Remsen Avenue in Canarsie; Navy Street next to the Brooklyn Navy Yard; and Meeker Avenue in Williamsburg, which will connect the new Kosciuszko Bridge to existing routes.

"This is meant to be a huge focus on Brooklyn, given the terrible spate of cyclist fatalities last year," Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg told Streetsblog, referring to the 17 cyclists who died in the borough — out of 29 overall who were killed*. "These are key connectors through the borough."

Here's the Brooklyn proposal that DOT will reveal today. The pink lines with green dashes are this year's projects. Yellow lines with green dashes are possible routes to be added next year. Projects completed last year are in two-shaded shapes and previous year projects are in dark green. Photo: DOT
Here's the Brooklyn proposal that DOT will reveal today. The pink lines with green dashes are this year's projects. Yellow lines with green dashes are possible routes to be added next year. Projects completed last year are in two-shaded shapes and previous year projects are in dark green. Photo: DOT
Here's the Brooklyn proposal that DOT will reveal today. The pink lines with green dashes are this year's projects. Yellow lines with green dashes are possible routes to be added next year. Projects completed last year are in two-shaded shapes and previous year projects are in dark green. Photo: DOT

The full list includes:

    • Fourth Avenue from First Street to the Barclays Center, a portion that will join the existing piece south from First Street to 38th Street.
    • Flatbush Avenue from Grand Army Plaza to Empire Boulevard.
    • Fort Hamilton Parkway between the Prospect Expressway and McDonald Avenue.
    • The Franklin Street Greenway project (its pluses and minuses were covered here)
    • Meeker Avenue's two-way path under the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway
    • Navy Street between Flushing Avenue and Sands Street.
    • Remsen Avenue between Canarsie Park and Foster Avenue.
    • Smith Street from Atlantic Avenue to Fulton Street.

And, obviously, the announcement on Wednesday will not be the last time Brooklyn — or other boroughs — hear good news from Trottenberg this year, she said.

"We felt it was important to make a strong statement in Brooklyn and hit the ground running in 2020," she said. "But there will be more announcements, and 20-plus more miles elsewhere. We are mindful, of course, that Citi Bike will be expanding to the South Bronx and upper Manhattan, so we will want to improve infrastructure there."

Hardened Brooklyn cyclists will no doubt see some missing links in the borough's safety chain, despite Wednesday's announcement: A controversial lane on Emmons Avenue in Sheepshead Bay appears to have been put off until next year at the earliest. And the last block of Jay Street without protection — the placard parking haven between Tillary and Johnson streets — is also not on the list.

But the announcement appears to have the full support of bike advocates, who will join Trottenberg and other DOT officials in a morning ride on Wednesday to a press conference at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge at 8:30 a.m.

"We're doing a lot of thinking about Jay Street," Trottenberg said. "And we definitely want to advance the project on Emmons Avenue." (Council Member Chaim Deutsch has expressed his opposition to the project, creating an unnecessarily political hurdle.)

In 2019, Brooklyn had 75 total traffic fatalities, a 25-percent increase from the year before, which had the lowest number of road deaths citywide since the beginning of the automobile era.

* Streetsblog uses 29 as the total death toll for cyclists, while the city uses 28. Our count includes an intentional murder of a bicyclist in Bushwick that is being pursued as a homicide by the NYPD.

City & State NY is hosting a full day New York in Transit summit on Jan. 30 at the Museum of Jewish Heritage. This summit will bring together experts to assess the current state of New York’s transportation systems, break down recent legislative actions, and look towards the future of all things coming and going in New York. Join Keynote Speaker Polly Trottenberg, commissioner of the NYC Department of Transportation, along with agency leaders, elected officials, and advocates. Use the code STREETSBLOG for a 25-percent discount when you RSVP here!

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