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It’s trucks vs. bikes on Greenpoint Avenue

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A long-overdue makeover of the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge could soon pit Newtown Creek-area businesses against cyclists in this rapidly changing North Brooklyn neighborhood.

The city’s $5.8-million rehabilitation project, which began last month, will eventually eliminate two lanes of the bridge in favor of buffered bike lanes in both directions.

The city says it will resurface the bridge two lanes at a time, over the next 10 months, before adding two bike lanes, each with a nine-foot buffer.

That doesn’t sit well with some nearby business.

“They’ve really made Greenpoint Avenue a mess,” said Metroenergy’s Paul Pullo, referring to a “crazy” city bike lane that was recently added to Greenpoint Avenue. “There’s no place to turn from the bridge to get to McGuinness Boulevard. That has been a very bad change.”

Pullo blames the bike lane for causing traffic to back up on Greenpoint Avenue.

During the morning and evening rush hour, traffic can back up to McGuinness Boulevard, four blocks away, as large trucks exiting the four-lane bridge have difficulty fitting into the two-lane Greenpoint Avenue and making turns onto side streets such as Provost Street and Kingsland Avenue.

In recent years, the city has added a bike lane to Greenpoint Avenue to meet the demand of Greenpoint’s growing cycling community. The current lane begins at West Street and stops just short of the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge at Kingsland Avenue, yet many cyclists use the bridge to get to Queens.

As a result, cycling advocates, such as Transportation Alternatives’ Wiley Norvell believe that a bike lane on the bridge is necessary for safety and will also relieve bike overcrowding on the Pulaski Bridge, several blocks away.

“Those narrow sidewalks [on Greenpoint Avenue] currently make it pretty hazardous for two cyclists, let alone two pedestrians, to comfortably pass one another. Separating bike and pedestrian traffic would do a lot to improve safety,” said Norvell.

Updated 5:18 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Mike from Ft Greene says:
Great news. The bridge is currently unsafe for bikes (because of speeding traffic) and for pedestrians (because bicyclists ride on the narrow sidewalk). This should help things dramatically. I hope the bike lane is physically separated, though, and not just paint.
May 17, 2010, 12:05 pm
Bicycle Commuter from Bay Ridge says:
This is truly great News! Ive been wondering what's been going on with this bridge. It's been getting pretty bad the last two years. So for everyone who hates bike lanes here's how it works. I use the Pulaski Bridge for Astoria, LIC, west Queens. The Greenpoint Avenue Bridge take me to Fresh Meadown, Flushing, Woodside, Jackson Heights East Queens. I've been using this route since 1999. Thanks DOT!
May 17, 2010, 12:27 pm
Paco from Cobble Hill says:
I used to ride this bridge several times a week and it was awful. The road itself was crumbling and the unnecessarily wide lanes encourage dangerous speeding. Narrowing the road will keep everyone safe, drivers included. That there's room for safer biking as a result is an added bonus. And I agree with Mike... protected lane will be much better than just paint cause of the size of the trucks that barrel down the bridge.
May 17, 2010, 12:46 pm
Dave from Greenpoint says:
A the plan is going cycles are going to pay insurance, registration fee and having plates,etc.
That’s an excelled idea they will stop controlling the roads like they do always razing there fingers having an attitude etc.
Its time to put the bikers in place!! The road is made to share for everybody doesn’t like it move it!!
May 17, 2010, 1:42 pm
g from Greenpoint says:
I am recently a new driver and never understood what other drivers were complaining about when talking about the cyclists -- but now as a driver I CAN'T STAND THEM! NONE of them are considerate for drivers - they drive against traffic, they drive straight through lights - I'm not complaining because I have to slow down or stop - it makes me nervous that I may kill someone because they think they run the road! Dave is right - all the cyclists are extremely nasty.
May 17, 2010, 2:26 pm
Mike from Greenpoint says:
@Dave from Greenpoint: Are you serious? Bicyclists "control the road"?! Have you ever looked at a street in New York? If you had, you'd realize that car drivers, many of them dangerously negligent and ignorant of the law, are in de facto control of the street.

And licensing bicyclists will 1) never happen, and 2) will actually make the streets LESS safe, by discouraging bicycling. The fewer pedestrians and cyclists, the more dangerous our streets get.

Anything that makes the streets safer for bicyclists and pedestrians safer, I'm all for. This bridge is so dangerous right now for ALL users, including motorists. So this proposal by the DoT sounds absolutely wonderful!
May 17, 2010, 6:14 pm
Marc from Williamsburg says:
This bicycle lane nonsense is completely out of control. These cycling advocates, such as Transportation Alternatives’ have total disregard to the businesses and Taxpayers of the community. They have succeeded in ruining a previously smooth flowing major road called KENT AVE! When is the City going to stop sucking up to these non taxpaying renters. Thank you Mayor Bloomberg.
May 17, 2010, 6:58 pm
Mike from Greenpoint says:
@marc, not sure where you get your opinions from, but I can see that the subtext of your comment is that only newly-arrived, renting, "hipsters" ride bikes, and thus aren't deserving of safe streets that work for all users. Man, are you misinformed!
May 17, 2010, 8:36 pm
Peter from Greenpoint says:
I don't necessarily agree that the bike lane is to blame for slowing down Greenpoint avenue. On the Queens side of the bridge, businesses who consistently block traffic where the street becomes one-way with trucks and forklifts create one dangerous situation and on the Brooklyn side people simply go around turning vehicles unless blocked by parked cars - the bike lane isn't stopping anyone there. I rarely if ever see serious traffic backups on this bridge, so I fail to see how making it safer for the pedestrians and bikers - most of whom, by the way, do not appear to be the "hipsters" you all complain about - who use this bridge to get to their jobs and homes.
May 18, 2010, 8:52 am
Josh from Greenpoint says:
I live in the area and am an avid cyclist. The last thing we cyclists need is a bunch of angry truckers trying to rush through the neighborhood. My solution: repave the bridge and a put a couple really large "cyclists share the roadway" signs up. That would make this cyclist happy.
May 18, 2010, 10:16 am
matthew deppe from greenpoint says:
"Pullo blames the bike lane for causing traffic to back up on Greenpoint Avenue." -
totally ludicrous!!! - they need to start MAJORLY limiting truck traffic around here - gadzooksss!!! - the noise and pollution has become quite intolerable
May 18, 2010, 11:41 am
Pullo from Greenpoint says:
The problem with Greenpoint Ave is NOT the bike lane,it is the fact that DOT no longer allows a right turn on red at Provost St.Many vehicles would turn there to go towards Queens and now they must go all the way to McGuinness Blvd.CB 1 sent letters to the DOT to restore the right on red but they have not acted on it.Also the design should keep all the existing vehicle lanes and have a ramped walkway for bikes.Bikes,cars and pedestrians can live together.
May 18, 2010, 3:22 pm
John from Greenpoint says:
The traffic will be so backed up that
the 495 West exit at Greenpoint Ave will be a total disaster. One only has to look at all the truck traffic in the morning. People that work in the area will need an extra hour to get into this area. The gentrification of the city by Bloomberg to satisy the hipsters of Williamsberg & the overflow crowd from the village and the condo boom does nothing for the common working man.
July 15, 2010, 2:26 pm
t from williamsburg says:
I think that this whole bike lane this is a joke. they ride in the middle of the street on the wrong side of the road and to boot squeeze in between cars parked and ones that are driving down the
road. Most think its eco friendly and a way to save money which is true but don't complain that you don't have a place to ride your bike and then not use the lanes that are given to you. If cyclist would be ticketed for such infractions as flying through red lights as well as stop signs maybe they will realize they have to share the road like everyone else does. To sum it all up the bike lanes were a waste of money and all they do is cause clutter and traffic.
Oct. 4, 2010, 1:33 am
Dave from Greenpoint says:
Cyclists get nasty, because it's a matter of survival. Get rid of transportation artery clogging parked cars and cyclists will turn into tepid blips of sunshine and smiles.
May 30, 2018, 1:40 am

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