Path to victory in Billyburg

Path to victory in Billyburg
The Brooklyn Paper / Noelle D’Arrigo

Pedal-pushers in Williamsburg and Greenpoint are taking a victory lap to celebrate the approval of a bike path that would convert a dangerous truck route along Kent Avenue into a safe haven for cyclists.

North Brooklyn’s Community Board 1 voted in favor of the proposal on April 8, greenlighting a greenway with northbound and southbound lanes for bicyclists and a walking path for pedestrians along Kent and West Street in Greenpoint.

“When you walk down Kent Avenue, you feel like you’re on a truck route — it’s gritty and it’s not a good place to be,” said Martin Puryear, director of planning for the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative. “The idea is to convert that pavement into a new open space.”

The continuous greenway would stretch nearly three miles from the northern border of Greenpoint at West and Eagle streets to the Navy Yard at Kent Avenue.

Six-foot-wide planted medians would separate cyclists and pedestrians from traffic, offering bikers a safe alternative to the booming neighborhood’s heavily trafficked avenues — where at least two cyclists were killed last year.

“Kent [Avenue] is an awful road to bike on with all of the traffic and all of the construction,” said Drew Lytle, of Greenpoint. “This bike lane would make things a lot less dangerous.”

Clearly there was little political danger in voting for the greenway; the vote was 39–2 in favor.

Construction on the $14-million greenway could begin early next year, coinciding with the planned construction of the first phase of Bushwick Inlet Park along the waterfront at North Ninth Street.

“We have all of these plans for new parks,” said Wiley Norvell, Communications Director of Transportation Alternatives. “This greenway is the way that people will get to these new parks.”