The city unveiled preliminary designs for a $37 million scheme to spruce up a stretch of Sunset Park’s industrial waterfront on Monday, showing off plans that include repaved roads, new trees, and one very short bike lane before the civic gurus of Community Board 7’s Transportation Committee.
The infrastructure improvement project, which is being managed by the city’s Economic Development Corporation, features a two-way protected bike lane planned for 39th Street at Second Avenue and extending past First Avenue, stopping just shy of the harbor.
The roughly block-long bike lane — which will be installed alongside an expanded sidewalk, and separated from cars by a line of trees — will not link with any existing paths for cyclists, although the plan is to eventually connect it to the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative at an undetermined time, according to Chieh Huang, a landscape architect attached to the project.
The bulk of the scheme will consist of repaving roughly 10 blocks of often disconnected roadways in an area bounded by 39th Street to the north and 44th Street to the south, and extending between First Avenue to the west and Third Avenue to the east, where the city hopes to correct widespread ponding issues caused by potholes and other deficiencies in the industrial area’s well-worn streetscape.
Drivers and cyclists will also benefit from the removal of pesky, on-street railroad tracks that run down Second Avenue between 39th and 41st streets, and down 41st street between Second and Third avenues, according to project engineer Thomas Colavecchio, who noted that the rail lines that run along First Avenue — which remain in use under the Port Authority’s jurisdiction — will not be torn up as part of the plan.
Cobblestone roads will be torn up and repaved along 39th Street between Second Avenue and the waterfront, and on 41st Street between First and Second avenues, although some board members objected to the city’s plan to eliminate the bumpy stretches of stonework, arguing they’re an integral part of the area’s industrial character.
Board members also expressed concern about a plan to eliminate a turning lane on Third Avenue heading west onto 39th Street, where the city plans on building out a cobblestone plaza beneath an exit ramp of the Gowanus Expressway to make crossing easier for pedestrians, saying commercial trucks rely on that lane to navigate their bulky vehicles through the turn.
Colavecchio told the committee that tests conducted by city traffic engineers showed trucks will still be able to make the turn, but a rep for EDC, Radhy Miranda, agreed to take a board member’s suggestion to temporarily close the lane for observation before giving it the permanent axe back to agency honchos for approval.
Designs for the project are expected to be finalized sometime this summer and the estimated 18-month construction project will kick off in the fall, putting the project on track for completion in spring 2021.
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