The Department of Transportation (Dot) is altering a proposed redesign of 7th and 8th avenues.
Originally, DOT was looking to transform the two avenues into one-way streets between 39th and 66th streets, while also adding a protected bike lane and traffic-calming measures to both streets.
The new proposal will still convert the avenues to one-way streets, but abandons the bike lanes and traffic-calming features.
The change comes after months of criticism from local residents and business owners who expressed concerns about the project’s impact on Brooklyn’s Chinatown.
“The plan they came up with did not solve the problem of safety or the flow of traffic,” Assemblyman Peter Abbate said when the plans were first unveiled. “There will be cars parked in the designated truck-loading zones and then the trucks will have to double park and block traffic.
“I think they picked the area because there is a large Chinese community and they didn’t think they would face any opposition,” Abbate added.
DOT is attributing the changes to feedback from outreach efforts.
“Through substantial engagement with local businesses and stakeholders, we are modifying our plans for these corridors to better address community needs, most importantly making the streets safer for everyone,” said a DOT spokesperson.
The Brooklyn Chinese American Association filed a lawsuit against the city and staged a protest outside DOT commissioner Hank Gutman’s home.
Group head Paul Mak is grateful for the changes, but still feels they can be improved.
“The community is happy that finally DOT is really opening up and hearing our concerns,” Mak said. “There are still one or two issues on 8th and 7th avenues that we will be contacting the commissioner again and hope to resolve.
“The community is really concerned about the bottlenecking that will be created as a part of their proposal,” he said. “Whenever there is double parking, whenever someone puts their car in the bus stop, it will really hold up the whole avenue with all the traffic.”
Some Sunset Park residents are still hopeful that a protected bike lane can be brought to the neighborhood.
“No one is against a bike lane,” Abbate explained. “I think it would be better on Sixth Avenue. If I was riding my bike on 6th Avenue, which I do sometimes, I would go right by Sunset Park and be able to stop on a bench to get some water or a soda.
“But the mayor wants to do his maze plan and get his 30 miles of bike lanes for the year,” he added.