Long-awaited Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway gets 2021 finish date
After 15 years of piecemeal construction, the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway, a 26-mile protected route for walkers and bikers, will finally be completed by 2021 as part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s new bike plan.
The path will run around the entirety of Brooklyn’s waterfront when complete, connecting four major parks and more than a dozen open spaces.
Currently, 18 miles of the bike/pedestrian route are finished and in use. These include the waterfronts of Williamsburg, parts of Brooklyn Bridge Park, Bay Ridge, Bath Beach and along the Belt Parkway in Eastern Brooklyn.
The yet-to-be-built gaps include Greenpoint, DUMBO, Red Hook, Sunset Park, Gravesend and Sheepshead Bay.
Brooklyn Greenway Initiative, which has been shepherding the project since 2004, said the Greenway is getting the boost it needs as part of the city’s “Green Wave” plan announced on July 25.
De Blasio’s $58.4 million plan, announced after the death of the 18th bicyclist this year, will build 80 miles of new, protected bike lanes by 2021. The plan also includes safer design of intersections, more police enforcement on vehicles blocking bike lanes and other safety measures. The mayor said that the city will be paying extra attention to careless driving by truck drivers.
“Completing the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway by 2021 is a very exciting development, but the ‘Green Wave’ Plan has to be considered a first step in a citywide shift to a safer, smarter, interconnected urban mobility system,” Terri Carta, BGI executive director, told the Brooklyn Eagle via email on Tuesday.
She added, however, “Much more investment is needed to connect a greener, stronger, healthier Brooklyn.”
BGI said in a statement that “additional funding certainly helps the timeline.”
The initiative calls the Greenway “a major trunk route serving all of Brooklyn, increasing access to transit, job centers in Brooklyn, recreational areas and intersecting with the rest of a protected bike lane network.”
The mayor’s plan, however, does not include a less than 2-mile stretch of Greenway between Gravesend and Sheepshead Bay.
BGI urged the NYC Department of Transportation to complete this segment by 2021. “To omit this small section of Greenway would be a missed opportunity to better serve people in Brooklyn and beyond,” BGI said.
More than $20 million in federal funding has been secured for the Greenway up to this point; more than $14 million was sponsored by U.S. Rep. Nydia Velázquez’s office.
BGI is also working on the creation of new green spaces adjacent to the Greenway, including the Naval Cemetery Landscape, a 1.7-acre site developed in partnership with the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation. A landscape of native plants beneficial to pollinators such as bees, moths and butterflies is being designed.
BGI is also developing a two-acre Columbia Street Waterfront Park.
In related news, Councilmember Carlos Menchaca (D-Red Hook) and NYC DOT announced on Wednesday the expedited construction of protected bike lanes in Sunset Park on Fourth Avenue between 15th and 60th streets — a result of the Green Wave plan.
Sunset Park’s cycling communities “have called for the protected bike lanes for years,” Menchaca’s office said in a release.
DOT has identified 10 Brooklyn and Queens community boards as Bike Priority Districts. These areas represent 16 percent of community boards and 14 percent of the bike lane network, but have 23 percent of all NYC’s bicycle fatalities. DOT has committed to build 75 miles of bicycle infrastructure in these districts by 2022.
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