Kent Avenue was set to become a one-way street with a protected two-way bike lane by the end of this week, marking the official end of a botched roadway redesign that pitted cyclists against motorists in a fight for hegemony over the key link between Greenpoint and Downtown.
Workers began milling and resurfacing Kent Avenue between Clymer Street and Broadway on Monday, eliminating a controversial layout installed last fall that replaced hundreds of parking spaces with bike lanes on both sides of the north-south byway.
By the end of the week, the two-way street was transformed into a northbound-only road. New markings and signage will then turn hotly contested no-parking and no-standing zones into legal parking lanes — one of which will serve as a buffer for a protected, two-directional bike lane on the waterfront side of the roadway.
The section of Kent Avenue between Broadway and N. 14th Street will undergo similar changes in September, a Department of Transportation spokesman said.
With the move, the city is hoping to put to rest what has been the most controversial cycling-related development since the advent of blood doping in the Tour de France.
Before the paint was even dry on the preliminary lanes last fall, residents and business owners scorned the path for removing vital parking and unloading spaces.
The new one-way plan is meant to appease cyclists and drivers. The city, cycling advocacy groups, and some neighborhood residents and merchants have argued that the new design will improve Kent Avenue by recovering lost parking spaces, offering cyclists a protected space, and lowering the speed of car traffic.
Placing the two-directional bike lane on the waterfront side of the street also lays the framework for the planned Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway, a two-way, landscaped cycling and walking path that will stretch from Greenpoint to Sunset Park.
But some North Brooklynites oppose the plan to turn Kent Avenue into a one-way street out of concerns that truck traffic from the throughway will be routed onto inland residential blocks like Wythe Avenue, and across commercial corridors like Bedford Avenue.
Foes of the city’s plan have launched an online petition drive, currently boasting 190 signatures, in an attempt to thwart the one-way plan.
©2009 Community News Group