Greenpoint Ave Bridge Plan Adds Bike Lanes With Fat Buffers

Greenpoint_Bridge_Lanes.pngThe proposed redesign for the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge, which connects Brooklyn and Queens. Image: NYCDOT

Here’s a look at NYCDOT’s plan for the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge [PDF], which would give cyclists traveling between Greenpoint, Brooklyn and Sunnyside, Queens a safer and more comfortable ride by installing bike lanes with extra-wide buffers. The project recently got some press in the Brooklyn Paper for attracting the opposition of local trucking interests.

Also known as the J.J. Byrne Memorial Bridge, this span over Newtown Creek is currently a danger zone for cyclists. Heading toward Queens, the Greenpoint Avenue bike lane ends abruptly at the bridge, throwing cyclists into mixed traffic where the road widens from two lanes to four. The confusing intersection on the Queens side of the bridge, where Greenpoint Avenue meets Van Dam Street and Review Avenue, is one of the locations most prone to crashes that cause severe injuries in the entire borough.

Greenpoint_Bridge_Bike_Lane.pngCurrently, the Greenpoint Ave bike lane ends right at the Greenpoint Ave Bridge. Image: NYCDOT

As part of a badly needed resurfacing of the bridge, DOT has proposed putting the bridge on a road diet using new markings. Two of the bridge’s travel lanes and its striped median would be narrowed. The other two lanes would be turned into bike lanes with no physical protection but plenty of room: six feet of travel width with a nine foot buffer. On the Queens side, the intersection would be simplified and include new pedestrian crossings.  

The redesign, unsurprisingly, has already drawn some controversy. According to the Brooklyn Paper, truckers have objected to bike lanes on Greenpoint Avenue, both those proposed for the bridge and those already built on the Brooklyn side. Of course, Greenpoint Avenue is already only two lanes wide on either side of the bridge. Moreover, in addition to improving safety on this bridge, the new bike lanes may help relieve some pressure on the narrow bike/ped path of the Pulaski Bridge, which is terribly overcrowded.

DOT’s website has the redesign slated for November implementation. We haven’t received any replies from the department in response to requests for more information about the status of the plan.