City taking Greenpoint Avenue Bridge bike lane back to the shop

City taking Greenpoint Avenue Bridge bike lane back to the shop
Photo by Tom Callan

One of Greenpoint’s most dangerous bike lanes is heading back to the drawing board.

City officials will reconsider plans to extend a bike lane over the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge after residents and local business owners said that the truck route is too dangerous.

“It’s a dangerous commercial strip,” said Tony Argento, whose Broadway Stages production studio business is nearby. “I’m there five, six, seven times a day. I rarely see bicycle on that lane.”

The lane is part of the bridge’s $5.8-million reconstruction project, which consists of resurfacing and restriping the heavily used truck route.

The Greenpoint Avenue Bridge is used by 26,637 commuters each day, including 3,491 trucks, according to 2009 city data.

A bike lane currently exists on Greenpoint Avenue, but ends just short of the bridge to Queens, a northern suburb of Brooklyn.

The city doesn’t have recent data for cycling use — but some transportation groups estimate that nearly 500 bike commuters a day use Greenpoint Avenue.

But the road has been a dangerous one — cyclists have complained about divots and potholes in its asphalt, and last May, a cyclist flipped over his handlebars while riding over the bridge.

The city’s original proposal would extend a six-foot bike lane, with a nine-foot buffer, over the bridge, and cut the bridge to one car lane in each direction.

Transportation workers have begun repairing the bridge, but planners will hold several meetings with residents and industrial businesses to discuss potential designs, such as the installation of left-turn bays, before presenting final recommendations to Community Board 1.

Cycling advocates promised to defend the lane vigorously.

“It has been proven throughout the city that bike lanes, in addition to being popular with residents, greatly improve safety for cyclists and drivers,” said Noah Budnick of the pro-cycling group, Transportation Alternatives. “We are glad to see the city once again making time to work with the neighborhood to develop the best possible design for Greenpoint Avenue.”

But Argento wants the lane moved entirely to Monitor Street or Kingsland Avenue where there’s less traffic.

“The traffic situation on Greenpoint Avenue has become worse and worse,” said Argento. “And when those bridges open, everything gets back up over half an hour — for boats.”

Photo by Tom Callan