A long-overdue makeover of the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge could soon pit Newtown Creek-area businesses against cyclists in this rapidly changing North Brooklyn neighborhood.
The city’s $5.8-million rehabilitation project, which began last month, will eventually eliminate two lanes of the bridge in favor of buffered bike lanes in both directions.
The city says it will resurface the bridge two lanes at a time, over the next 10 months, before adding two bike lanes, each with a nine-foot buffer.
That doesn’t sit well with some nearby business.
“They’ve really made Greenpoint Avenue a mess,” said Metroenergy’s Paul Pullo, referring to a “crazy” city bike lane that was recently added to Greenpoint Avenue. “There’s no place to turn from the bridge to get to McGuinness Boulevard. That has been a very bad change.”
Pullo blames the bike lane for causing traffic to back up on Greenpoint Avenue.
During the morning and evening rush hour, traffic can back up to McGuinness Boulevard, four blocks away, as large trucks exiting the four-lane bridge have difficulty fitting into the two-lane Greenpoint Avenue and making turns onto side streets such as Provost Street and Kingsland Avenue.
In recent years, the city has added a bike lane to Greenpoint Avenue to meet the demand of Greenpoint’s growing cycling community. The current lane begins at West Street and stops just short of the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge at Kingsland Avenue, yet many cyclists use the bridge to get to Queens.
As a result, cycling advocates, such as Transportation Alternatives’ Wiley Norvell believe that a bike lane on the bridge is necessary for safety and will also relieve bike overcrowding on the Pulaski Bridge, several blocks away.
“Those narrow sidewalks [on Greenpoint Avenue] currently make it pretty hazardous for two cyclists, let alone two pedestrians, to comfortably pass one another. Separating bike and pedestrian traffic would do a lot to improve safety,” said Norvell.
©2010 Community Newspaper Group
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