Cyclists: New Bike Route to the Kosciuszko Bridge is a ‘Death Trap’
Cyclists will ride into a “death trap” as they enter Brooklyn over the new Kosciuszko Bridge, activists say.
In Greenpoint, the bridge’s new shared bike and pedestrian path will follow the highway’s alignment of the exit ramp to Meeker and Morgan Avenues and touch down at the corner of Meeker Avenue and Van Dam Street.
But the route would send cyclists down Meeker Avenue between Apollo Street and Driggs Avenue along an unprotected bike lane next to two 11-foot lanes of moving traffic — in a congested area next to the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway where trucks and motorists are usually flying, said Transportation Alternatives activist Philip Leff.
“The path will end by hurling pedestrians and cyclists into speeding traffic or forcing them under dark and reeking overpasses,” Leff tweeted as Brooklyn Community Board 1’s Transportation Committee heard the plans Thursday night. “And with 11-foot wide lanes on neighborhood streets, drivers will continue to behave like they’re driving on a highway.”
Instead, the city should nix one of the travel lanes to slow traffic, and turn it into a parking-protected bike lane, according to a cycling member of CB1.
“Meeker Avenue is the most concerning part of the plan — cars are already speeding,” said Max Sholl. “I feel like it sends cyclists into a death trap quite honestly.”
— Maximillian (@MaxSholl) April 4, 2019
But the rest of the Department of Transportation’s plans aren’t much better — cyclists get no protection from speedsters in a busy and industrial area that’s already dangerous to navigate.
“Nothing presented changes the fact that this is one of Brooklyn’s most inhospitable areas for those outside of cars,” said Leff.
On Driggs Avenue between Meeker Avenue and Leonard Street, the city would break up a 30-foot combined parking and travel lane to put a five-foot bike lane next to a parking lane on one side and a traffic lane on the other.
Cyclists would be forced to share the lane with traffic on Nassau Avenue between Leonard Street and Apollo Street, and would get merely a painted lane separating traffic and parked cars on Apollo Street between Nassau Avenue and Meeker Avenue.
The Department of Transportation unveiled its plans for the Brooklyn portion of the new bike route during a Brooklyn Community Board 1 Transportation Committee meeting Thursday night. But it felt like the routes were merely an afterthought, and the city could care less about the safety of bikers, according to Sholl.
“There’s zero protected portions — it puts everyone not in a car in a very unsafe and vulnerable position,” said Max Sholl. “They have known about this new bike and pedestrian connection for years and it seemed pretty unprepared and slapped together.”
Later this year, the state Department of Transportation will open the new Brooklyn-bound span of the bridge, which will include a 20-foot-wide path for cyclists and pedestrians heading in each direction. And the state is working with the city to connect that pathway with the larger bike network once cyclists get off the bridge in Greenpoint or in Maspeth. DOT presented plans for the Queens side on Monday night.
Transportation officials say they are also working on creating a safer connection from the Williamsburg Bridge to the Kosciuszko Bridge on Meeker Avenue.