City transportation officials hope to install a slate of traffic-calming measure along two streets in Greenwood Heights by the fall – something they say will lessen the impacts of truck traffic on the neighborhood, while bridging gaps in existing bike routes for local cyclists. In August, representatives from the city’s Department of Transportation presented their plans to convert 20th Street into a one-way road headed toward the waterfront between Third and McDonald avenues.
As part of the city’s new Bike Boulevard initiative, the proposal also includes the installation of car-deterring infrastructure along neighboring 21st Street – which already runs one-way toward Windsor Terrace between Third and Seventh avenues.
Mayor Bill de Blasio had pledged to build one of the so-called Bike Boulevards in each borough by the end of the year, essentially adding infrastructure to a roadway that calms driving speeds to allow bikers and cars to peacefully coexist on the same street without removing parking. A DOT employee said the measure would allow people to drive on the road if they need, but the mechanisms would encourage drivers to use alternative routes whenever possible.
On the same area of 21st Street, the department will also install curb extensions at four intersections, which will force drivers to make slower turns onto the street. Third and Fifth avenues will see one sidewalk extended further into the crosswalk, while Fourth and Seventh avenues will see symmetrical extensions jutting into the crosswalk from either side. The proposal would also construct roundabouts on Sixth Avenue at the intersections of 21st, 22nd, and 23rd streets that will slow traffic when entering the bike boulevard between Sixth and Seventh avenues. Vehicles traveling on 22nd and 23rd streets would be able to continue straight around the roundabout and across Sixth Avenue, according to the plan.
On 21st Street, only bicycles and pedestrians would be able head straight across Sixth avenue, while cars would be forced to turn right onto Sixth Avenue at the roundabout – although cars already on Sixth Avenue could make a right onto 21st Street, a transportation rep said.
The Windsor-Terrace bike boulevard, paired with a waterfront-bound protected bike lane proposed for neighboring 20th Street, will fill a gap in bike lanes through the neighborhood, and connect Prospect Park with the newly incoming Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway. Transportation representatives said they elected to eliminate Windsor Terrace-bound traffic on 20th Street to make way for the new bike lane after studies showed that traffic patterns were predominantly headed in the opposite direction. They recommended that drivers who regularly use 20th Street to travel to areas around McDonald Avenue use the Prospect Expressway, Prospect Park Southwest, or 39th Street to reach their destination instead.
In addition to increased bicycle and pedestrian safety, the one-way conversion of 20th Street would add parking spaces to the more-residential parts between Third and Fourth Avenue, transportation officials said. While it will account for a total loss of approximately 130 spaces to make way for the two-way shared path, reps said those losses would largely include lesser-used spots along Greenwood Cemetery between Seventh and McDonald avenues.
Two speed bumps will also be added on Seventh Avenue between 20th and 22nd Streets to slow traffic around the exit of the bike boulevard.
The head of the CB7’s transportation committee raised concerns at the Aug. 3 meeting that truck traffic will be pushed to a similarly crowded 19th Street, where the transportation agency didn’t propose any alterations to ease traffic. Meanwhile, other members feared the conversion would create congestion all around the neighborhood as drivers seek an eastbound route to leave.
Source: Brooklyn Paper