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City Unveils Plan for Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway in Greenpoint

By Meredith Hoffman | November 15, 2012 12:40pm

GREENPOINT — The city unveiled its detailed proposal Wednesday for Greenpoint's section of the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway — a path slated to link 14 miles of the borough's coastal areas for cyclists and pedestrians.

The proposal was viewed as a victory for cyclists and other residents craving green space, while local businesses and people who rely on driving challenged the logistics of the project.

The planned Greenpoint greenway would convert West Street from Eagle Street to Quay Street into a one-way northbound road and would add a raised two-way bikeway, representatives from the city's Department of Transportation and the consulting firm RBA group said, to cheers from bikers and other residents.

The project would also include a 4-foot buffer between the bike lanes and the road, would widen sidewalks from 11 feet to 15 feet, and would add plantings along the route, they said.

"This project will significantly improve infrastructure and connect people...it will connect the proposed roadway with bike routes and lanes in the area," said RBA's representative Linda Reardon at the Williamsburg Community Board 1 meeting Wednesday night. "The roadway on West Street is in a very deteriorated condition with water mains dating back to the 1800s and sewers in need of repair."

But the change would also eliminate 80 parking spots, Reardon admitted, and local business advocate Karen Nieves noted that the influx of bikers might cause problems for business owners to maneuver their trucks.

"Some businesses say this is great, the street would be wider," Nieves, business service manager with the North Brooklyn group EWVIDCO. "Others say 'This is going to kill me,'" she said, explaining that bikes could get in the way of trucks' loading bays.

But Ted Wright, the DOT's senior project manager for the Brooklyn Greenway, said the agency would continue to talk with local businesses to work out their concerns.

"The DOT is trying to accommodate the businesses," he said of the project's plans, which have been under discussions the past 10 years.

Reardon also assured residents that the capital project (whose construction documents are slated for completion by the end of 2013, and whose implementation has no set date) would not harm traffic flow on the currently two-way street.

"The traffic volume on West Street is pretty low...and we also looked on Franklin Street, the parallel street," Reardon said of the firm's traffic analyses. "The change is possible, it won't result in any additional delays...it will result in better safety on West Street."

Local resident Will Elkins said the project would benefit both bikers and neighbors, since it would eliminate risks of heavy car traffic.

"There are going to be more people moving into the neighborhood ... and the loss of parking is worth the increase of safety in the neighborhood," he said.

The project will be discussed at Williamsburg Community Board 1's next transportation committee meeting.