Work to begin on crucial section of Brooklyn Greenway bike path

The Brooklyn Greenway bike path in Columbia Waterfront.
Photo by Ben Verde

Construction on a crucial part of the Brooklyn Greenway bike path is set to start this week, with work expected to end in 2022, according to the city. 

Representatives from the city’s Department of Design and Construction told members of Community Board 7’s Transportation Committee on Tuesday that work on the path’s Gowanus Connector will begin this fall and last until 2022. 

The $27.9 million project will bring a number of improvements to a troubled and deadly stretch of Third Avenue in Sunset Park, most notably a bike lane on the southern sidewalk. Multiple cyclists have been killed on Third Avenue in recent years, most recently Clara Kang, a 31-year-old nurse practitioner who was biking home from working the overnight shift at NYU Langone-Brooklyn when she collided with a motorcyclist.

“They are wide streets, which obviously, vehicles have a tendency of speeding,” agency rep Maria Centeno said during the board’s Oct. 27 meeting. “It’s not safe for bicyclists or other users, so this project will address those needs.” 

The new path will connect Sunset Park with the Greenway in Red Hook by taking riders along Third Avenue from 29th Street to 18th Street, and along Hamilton Avenue from 18th Street to Smith Street, to the intersection of Smith and Lorraine Streets in Red Hook, where riders can connect with the bike route there.

Community members said they are glad the project will finally get underway after years of dealing with dangerous conditions on the roadway.

“We really need this,” said board member Karen Rolnick. “I do a lot of bicycling and that is a very dangerous area, so I’m very grateful that we are doing this.” 

Rolnick pushed the agency to make the lane as safe as possible and to explore options to allow cyclists crossing Third Avenue to enter the lane safe from speeding traffic. The agency was unable to commit to any further improvements.

The Brooklyn Greenway Initiative aims to wrap the borough’s coastline with 26 miles of safe cycling tracks. There are 8 miles remaining before the pathway is complete, with the largest gaps in Sunset Park, DUMBO, Coney Island, Gravesend, and Brighton Beach.