Dreams really do come true! W’burg, G’point finally get the traffic study they have been longing for

Make Meeker Avenue meeker, say activists
Meeker Avenue in Williamsburg.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

The wheels are finally turning.

The city is launching a study into Williamsburg and Greenpoint’s most congested and collision-filled roads — welcome news to residents and local pols who have long been begging for a comprehensive safety plan for the neighborhoods’ thoroughfares.

“We’ve been pushing for this for a long time, so we’re excited,” said Casey Adams, spokesman for Councilman Steve Levin (D–Williamsburg).

The Department of Transportation study will tackle streets that community members and city reps have already identified as problem areas across most of Community Board 1’s district, Levin (D–Greenpoint) told the panel at a recent meeting.

One is the triangle of death and destruction known as Meeker, Union, and Metropolitan avenues near the Brooklyn Queens Expressway — a harrowing cluster of cars zooming off the interstate, bus routes, cyclists, and haphazard pedestrian crosswalks where seven people died and 90 were injured between 2009 and 2013, according to city data.

The city unveiled a small-scale plan to improve safety on the streets in January, but many board members balked at the agency’s piecemeal approach to the problem, arguing that tackling one strip at a time inefficient and insufficient way to solve the area’s larger traffic woes.

“If we’re going to spend every meeting having these little dribs and drabs of transportation, we’re going to be here until we’re a hundred years old,” said Community Board 1 member Tom Burrows to city reps at the meeting, eliciting applause from other members.

And transportation officials themselves recognized that the “dribs and drabs” doesn’t cut it — when board members demanded the inclusion of a bike lane in the Meeker plan, reps replied that they could not install strips of lanes across such a small area.

The study would also seek a holistic solution to the heavy truck congestion that has been clogging the streets all across the Williamsburg’s industrial areas, said Levin.

Locals say they also want to plan ahead of a huge influx of development slated for the nabes over the next few years — more than 7,350 new units will go up along the northern waterfront before 2019, according to a recent City Realty report, bringing even more commuters to the area.

“We need to take a step back and try to figure out where the problems are, where the future projects are, and create a comprehensive plan,” said Greenpoint cyclist and driver Darren Lipman.

Levin remains tight-lipped on any more specifics of the study, but Adams promised the city would release a more detailed preview of the plan in the next few weeks.

Reach reporter Allegra Hobbs at ahobbs@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–8312.