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Loosen my Belt! Ridgites want V-N Bridge overhaul to include westbound Belt Parkway fix - Brooklyn Paper

Loosen my Belt! Ridgites want V-N Bridge overhaul to include westbound Belt Parkway fix

Loosening the Belt: The city will widen the Belt Parkway approaches to the Verrazano Bridge for safety, but will not add additional lanes.
Metropolitan Transportation Authority

They want to add another notch to their Belt.

Ridgites want the transportation authority to make it easier to get on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge from the Manhattan-bound Belt Parkway as part of a $1.5 billion, 25-year plan to spiff up the 50-year-old span and re-jigger Staten Island-bound Belt Parkway lanes. A fourth lane on the Belt between Bay Eighth Street and the bridge’s onramps would do wonders, according to a member of the Community Board 10’s transportation committee.

“If they added a right-hand lane — in effect making a fourth lane — they would have two dedicated lanes going onto the bridge,” said member and former chairman Dean Rasinya. “That would alleviate the flow of traffic and prevent some fender benders.”

The authority aims to widen lanes leading from the Belt Parkway to bridge ramps — but only for safety and not as an additional traveling lane, according to a draft 25-year master plan it presented to committee members on Nov. 9.

The authority did include a measure in the plan to add another right-hand lane on the Staten Island-bound side of the Belt Parkway between the bridge connector ramp and the Bay Parkway exit, preliminary plans show. That would allow drivers to stay in that lane to take the Bay Parkway exit instead of merging with traffic on the Belt Parkway, officials said.

Workers are currently replacing the upper roadway deck, adding a high-occupancy vehicle lane on the bridge, and connecting it to the one on the Gowanus Expressway. After that they’ll start work on the Bay Ridge side approaches to the bridge, and once that work is done, they can replace the lower roadway concrete deck with a steel deck — possibly sometime around 2030, officials said.

The lighter steel deck will shave 12,000 tons off the bridge, allowing it to bear the extra weight of possible bike and pedestrian pathways, which the authority may build along the outside of the bridge’s existing structure.

The city should engage with residents who could be affected by construction before it moves forward with work on vehicle approaches to the bridge, another neighborhood leader said.

“There are a tremendous amount of residential homes within 50 feet of those exit ramps, so to have those discussions is very important,” said district manager Josephine Beckmann.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority will publish the final master plan in 2016.

Reach reporter Dennis Lynch at (718) 260–2508 or e-mail him at dlynch@cnglocal.com.

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