Flushing Avenue to get two-way protected bike lane!

Flushing Avenue to get two-way protected bike lane!
Department of Transportation

Flushing Avenue will sprout a protected, two-way bike lane to link cyclists between the Manhattan Bridge and Williamsburg, the city revealed on Tuesday.

In an effort to ramp up the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway project — essentially a borough-circling greenway idealized in 1993 — Department of Transportation officials also proposed that traffic flow be converted to one-way going westbound on the stretch of Flushing Avenue between Kent Avenue in Williamsburg and Navy Street in Vinegar Hill, as well as adding a green median separating bikers from traffic.

It’s all in the name of slowing down traffic, making a high-volume bikeway actually usable, and bringing more people to local businesses on the stretch.

“It’s part of a larger vision for a waterfront route — this step will really change Flushing Avenue for the better,” said Ted Wright, manager of the Greenway project.

Tuesday’s presentation to Community Board 2’s Transportation Committee was preliminary, but officials want the project implemented by July.

The finished strip would run traffic westbound with parking lanes on either side. A nine-foot green median on the north side of the lane would separate the two-way bike lane from traffic, and offer a buffer zone for pedestrians looking to cross the street.

The former eastbound traffic would be pushed to Park Avenue — but a study by the department revealed that the route could absorb double its current traffic, even at peak hours. Plus, Wright claimed, eastbound traffic on Flushing Avenue is rare.

On the other hand, biking traffic volume on Flushing Avenue is too high for safety.

“I ride my bike a lot along the strip and it feels dangerous,” said Mike Epstein, committee member. “The high speed of vehicles makes it dangerous to cross the road, to bike, and even to live nearby.”

He also added that bikers are already detoured onto Flushing Avenue because of the controversial removal of the Bedford Avenue bike lane last year.

Transportation officials noted that the new lane would prompt trucks going to the Navy Yard to stay on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway until they exit for westbound travel — improving safety and lowering freight traffic in small neighborhoods like Clinton Hill.

Flushing Avenue would become one-way — and safer for cyclists — under a city plan for a two-way protected bike lane.
The Brooklyn Paper / Andy Campbell