The Department of Transportation (DOT) presented their latest street improvement plan on June 27 and again on July 7 to push motorists out of Atlantic Avenue, near pier six of the park, to make room for a public plaza, a two-way bike lane and more – all in an effort to make a safer entrance to the park for pedestrians.
The proposed changes would also reroute the B63 bus line into roadways in the park to avoid the wide U-turn buses makes on the intersection of Atlantic Avenue. While Community Board 2 approved the plan earlier, Community Board 6 had concerns with the proposal. Members voted on July 7 in favor of an amendment to allow the DOT to take their suggestions into consideration before giving their final vote.
“We addressed a lot of the community issues with this plan,” said Ted Wright, senior project manager at Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway. “I would like to see it get to the ground. We spent a lot of time on this trying to make the changes.”
Since the opening of Piers One and Six last year, Brooklyn Bridge Park has become a growing popular destination for Brooklynites. The problem is when park goers try to enter the park they find themselves at odds with some 860 cars, trucks and buses that pass through the space daily. In response, the city has come up with the most sweeping proposed street changes yet.
When the plans were presented to CB 6 at Long Island College Hospital last week, Brooklyn organizations were quick to point out their concerns with the proposals that they say are not enough for a long term solution to their safety concerns at Pier Six.
“We support it as far as it goes, but it doesn’t go far enough,” said Judy Stanton, executive director of the Brooklyn Heights Association. Her concern was the “immediate dangers” with the BQE on-ramp signage that lacks a sign to stop left turns. “You can’t have cars turning from two directions, that is not safe,” she said.
“It’s a baby step to what is really needed,” said Judy Francis of the Brooklyn Bridge Fund. She said she has seen other plans that are superior to the ones presented by DOT. “What we need is a true entrance that is safe and welcoming,” Francis added.
But not all attendees had bad things to say about the Pier Six plan.
“It’s better, but not a good long-term solution,” said resident Judith Thompson.
In addition to the plaza, the Pier Six plan also includes a pedestrian island to improve the entrance, added crosswalks, and a greenway to help people get easier access to the park entrance.
DOT hopes to get a final plan approved by the end of the summer.