Work almost complete on park-like entrance to Brooklyn Bridge

Work almost complete on park-like entrance to Brooklyn Bridge
Community News Group / Lauren Gill

Put it in park!

The Brooklyn Bridge will get a safer and more inviting gateway when the city transforms a dangerous intermingling of cars, bicyclist and pedestrians at Tillary Street into an oasis of trees, plants, bike paths, walkway, and happier tourists and commuters — a welcome upgrade to the barren stretch riders and cyclists now must use to get to and from the bridge, according to the local community board’s leader.

“I think there were many people who looked at the status quo and said, ‘This is the main entrance to Brooklyn, this is not particularly grand,’” said Rob Perris, who is Community Board 2 district manager. “They wanted to make something that was aesthetically more attractive.”

The new entrance on Adams Street will include separate pedestrian and bike lanes widened from 14-feet to 16-feet across. Cyclists will ride on an asphalt lane for a smoother ride while pedestrians will stroll on concrete.

Both sides of the pathway will be lined with trees and flowers, an improvement from the span lined with dingy taupe railings and ugly concrete barricades.

Currently, pedestrians and cyclists using the bridge traverse a brutalist pathway known as the “cattle chute” surrounded by traffic and exhaust. Those leaving the bridge are left at a fenced off slab where heavy traffic from Tillary Street whizzes by, creating an stressful and dangerous situation for locals and out-of-towners visiting the borough’s most-beloved spectacle.

Nearly 29,000 pedestrians and more than 3,000 cyclists cross the bridge each day, according to city data, and officials says the new designs will make the trip safer for both of them.

“The project is designed and built to create a safe environment to accommodate the volumes of bicyclists, vehicular traffic, and pedestrians,” said Shavone Williams, who is a spokeswoman for the Department of Design and Construction, the agency overseeing the revamp.

Along with Adams Street, the city is installing new bike lanes on the sidewalk running along Tillary Street that will improve access to the spiffy gateway. The spruced up entrance will also boast a two-story bronze sculpture of an arm with the hand’s index finger pointing to the sky by artist Hank Willis Thomas on Tillary and Adams streets.

Members of Community Board 2 had various reactions to the street appendage, but Perris (a recent guest on Brooklyn Paper Radio) said that people should just wait and see it for themselves before forming an opinion.

“As someone who enjoys public art it is always a different experience to see art in person than it is to see a representation of art,” he said. “I would encourage people to hold their judgments until it is actually installed.”

In other Brooklyn Bridge news, the other side of it is still lands in Manhattan, at the so-called “City Hall.”

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at lgill@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill
Moving on up: Cyclist Lukas Georgiou has to ride on this old pathway now, but he’s pumped to push his pedals on the new pathway this summer.
Photo by Caleb Caldwell