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DOT Reveals Results of Long-Awaited North Brooklyn Street Study, Many Opposed to Proposals

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April 12, 2018 By Nathaly Pesantez

The wait is finally over for the Department of Transportation’s North Brooklyn Traffic Study, a project pushed for by the community for several years in a bid to make North Brooklyn streets safer, less congested, and with better routes for truck travel.

The agency presented a list of recommendations resulting from the year-long study during Tuesday’s Community Board 1 meeting, including street direction changes, daylighting, and new signal timing at certain points through North Brooklyn’s residential and commercial corridors.

Several Greenpoint and Williamsburg residents and business owners noted the need for better street planning in their neighborhoods, but had mixed to negative reviews on many of the agency’s recommendations. Most of the backlash came from directional changes to key portions of neighborhood streets.

On North Henry Street between Greenpoint Avenue and Nassau Avenue, for example, the DOT is proposing two options for directional changes. One option could see an entirely one-way street southbound, going all the way to McGolrick Park. The path, which also serves as a local truck route, is currently a one way street going north. Another option includes making the street southbound only up to Norman Avenue, with the portion between Nassau and Norman Avenue still northbound.

Proposals for North Henry Street (DOT)

The southbound directional change here would help alleviate the truck traffic seen the next block over on Monitor Street, one of the few southbound streets directly off Greenpoint Avenue. Many say Monitor Street’s continuous stretch encourages trucks to speed through on a block that also includes an elementary school.

But residents say making cars and trucks go southbound here wouldn’t change the high traveling speeds, and would simply be another truck route on a residential street. Some worried that traffic would simply zip down and pose a direct danger to people at McGolrick Park.

“This proposal to change the traffic direction onto our block is going to be a nightmare for the residents of that block,” said William Broderick, a longtime resident of North Henry Street. He said the trucks and the noise, odor, and dirt from them will depreciate home values on the street, drawing similarities to the impending L train shutdown’s effect on real estate.

Joe Torres, the owner of the Henry Norman Hotel at the corner of Norman Avenue and North Henry Street, said the DOT is essentially damaging his business with the directional change.

“It kept all those trucks out of that residential area,” Torres said about the street’s current northbound direction. “Now you’re dumping them all back in. You’re gonna route them down North Henry, and what that does is destroy our ability to do any business.”

The DOT is also proposing making the stretch of North Henry Street between Meeker Avenue and Richardson Street into a one-way from its current two-way path. The proposal directly responds to repeated concerns over the street’s two-way configuration, given how narrow the stretch is.

DOT

“This street…is very narrow and always causing problems,” reads a comment submitted to the study’s online portal. “People get stuck and mirrors of parked cars get broken.”

Some residents, however, said the directional change here would force them to spend more time looking for parking, as the stretch currently offers one of the few two-way paths in surrounding blocks. Many also worried about aggravating congestion on Meeker Avenue with this proposal.

Furthermore, the DOT is looking at extending the sidewalk at the corner of Meeker Avenue and North Henry. Henry LaReau, a DOT project planner, said the curb cut there that allowed for cars to turn right onto North Henry will no longer be needed if the one-way direction change is approved.

Away from North Henry Street, the DOT is looking at directional changes along Eckford Street. The two-block, two-way section from Manhattan and Driggs Avenues could become one-way, which would lead to traffic calming and protected crossings for pedestrians.

In the same area, the notorious V-intersection where Manhattan Avenue and Eckford Street meet currently sees an 85 foot unmarked crossing, which many consider too dangerous to walk through. With DOT measures in place, the section could see a significant curb extension that would shorten pedestrian crossing distances by half. The extended curb would also create a sharp turn for cars, rather than the existing soft turn that encourages speeding.

Eckford Avenue proposal (DOT)

LaReau stressed that all proposals are simply that, and that the plan would have to be approved by Community Board 1 and others to be implemented. He noted that North Brooklyn is unique in its residential, industrial, and commercial spaces all in proximity to one another.

“It’s very difficult to weigh everybody’s needs,” LaReau said.

The recommendations could be implemented as early as this year, however, if it receives its needed approvals.

The transportation study kicked off in the summer of 2016 after Levin secured funding for it following years of mounting pressure. “This neighborhood has changed in recent years and our approach to congestion and mobility needs to evolve with it for us to meet the needs of everyone in the community,” Levin said in 2016.

Benjamin Soltaire, North Brooklyn Community Organizer for Councilmember Stephen Levin, said he will continue to work with the DOT on the proposals to address concerns heard at the meeting.

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5 Comments

Mary

Really smart DOT, directing truck traffic head-on into the entrance of the children’s playground right where North Henry Street ends. That sounds safe! Plus, Nassau there is a two-way street, so they’re going to either have to make it a three-way stop right there, or risk a whole bunch of accidents when these trucks attempt to turn left or right, which they have to do given the park. I feel for the people on Monitor, also a nice, narrow, tree-lined street, but at least they have stop signs on all four corners. That section of McGolrick Park is already dangerous with car traffic, no crosswalks, and poor sight-lines for those going in and out of the park. This is really not well thought out. I agree with the poster who says they should be using McGuinness Blvd. That’s what it’s for.




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D Keller

There are 12 construction sites on my one block alone. Wait till these and all the high rises fill up, especially with all wanting their cleaning and dog shampoo delivered!




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Bill Broderick

I was at that meeting and have been mentioned in the Article. I am William Broderick Please (Bill or Billbo). One of the things that are being forgotten is that twice I had asked the DOT Rep. about re-routing via McGuiness Blvd, both times he moved away from the subject, and I lost the Floor. I would like to remind Greenpointers that in the late 50’s early 60’s the city tore down the block and houses that was known as Greenpoints old Oakland Street to give up the New and Better McGuiness Blvd. This was to be the answer to everything in the neighborhood, and a thru passage from north queens to the BQE and more business to the merchants in the area. So after displacing all those families why don’t we use this street for what it was intended getting people (all that truck traffic) to the other side of Williamsburg. They should not allow any thru truck traffic to venture on Monitor St, North Henry or any other Northbound and/or Southbound Street. The traffic should be forced onto McGuiness Blvd. This would require the DOT to do some additional work to slightly improve the Traffic light timing, and the turning radius on some corners, but these Commercial Trucks belong on Commercial Streets not on residential streets like Monitor and North Henry. In addition to this, I would bet that if this proposal goes thru and is placed in effect, the Henry Norman Hotel will loose business and close. This will give NYC the ability to open another SHELTER on the outskirts of the neighborhood, and one can only imagine what kind of trouble this would bring to our little community. Once again I must stress that Monitor St and North Henry Street are both residential streets, with many buildings 100+ years old. One can only imagine what would start happening to these buildings after the very large trucks start bouncing down these streets in the middle of the night at 50 MPH – they will turn to dust and rubble. Any assistance to our cause is welcomed contact me at my Email account below. Ten years ago if you asked anyone where is Greenpoint, no one wold know, but now its so hot it’s on everybody’s lips. If you want to maintain that small beautiful tree lined streets kind of a feel your going to have to start to take on the BIG GUYS, and at almost any cost

Billbo




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BIG JOE

Changes must be made for truck traffic, as it has become a complete safety hazard. Changes alone will not fix the problem. There is minimal enforcement of our current traffic laws regarding these vehicles, along with cars and bicycles. Trucks run amuck through the area on non truck route streets with no fear of consequence. same as bicycles going up one way streets, going thru stop signs and red lights. We must have more daily enforcement, and not announced, so the guilty can avoid these violations. One of the main truck routes coming into and leaving Greenpoint, Vandervort Ave. is inundated with double parked vehicles that are left there by businesses all day (The truck repair at Division/Vandervort, The multiple businesses between Maspeth and Metropolitan Aves) have made a four lane truck thoroughfare 2 lanes. The little league will be opening shortly and this is a massive safety hazard especially with trucks using Porter Ave. to and form Lombardy St. to “Beat” the lights on Vandervort Ave. Enforcement, enforcement, enforcement!!!!!!!!! Not more laws that you WONT ENFORCE!




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Paul

How bout putting a limit on how many people can live in the area. You can have God trying to figure out better methods but you can only fit so many people into an area.

Also have some sort of a system to regulate commercial traffic ie only commercial traffic delivering the area can come in.




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