latest progress on the greenway
BGI is committed to the ambitious vision for 26+ mile Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway — an uninterrupted path of multi-use trails and linear parks tracing the Brooklyn waterfront from Greenpoint to East New York. We want to celebrate all the recent progress that’s been made on the Greenway – upgrades to the existing 20 miles, and the completion of new sections! Over the next few months, we’ll travel along the Greenway and share updates about what’s been done and what’s coming next.
Flushing Avenue bike path – finally done!
In December 2021, the two-way bike path on the southwest corner of the Navy Yard opened up to bicycles, capping an implementation process that spanned over 10 years! It’s now possible to bike over four continuous and low-stress miles from the Manhattan Bridge (via Sands Street) to West Street in Greenpoint with minimum interaction with car traffic.
In terms of time, it’s one of the longest start-to-finish segments in the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway. It certainly wasn’t meant to take this long! The city DOT originally sought to complete this as far back as 2010, with a plan to convert Flushing Avenue into a one-way, one-lane street for car and truck traffic (with two lanes of parking), and creating a two-way bike path separated from traffic with a median.
This plan was met with concern from local business and the community board, and the city came back with a two-phase approach:
– Short-term: the DOT would add painted bike lanes on each side of Flushing Avenue between Navy Street and Washington Avenue, and a two-way bike path with concrete barrier protection from Washington Avenue to Kent Avenue. This was completed in the summer of 2010.
– Long-term: the north sidewalk would be extended by six feet, and a curb-separated, two-way bike path would be raised to the sidewalk level and run from Kent Avenue to Navy Street.
The long-term project was expected to be complete in 2-4 years by DOT, though Gothamist wrote at the time that it would likely take until 2020.
It turns out that Gothamist’s estimate was very close to the actual result – construction on the bike path finished at the very end of 2021, while construction on other elements of the project continues into 2022.
Over the course of the project, small segments of the two-way bike path opened further and further west. Construction on the greenway east of Vanderbilt Avenue was largely complete going into 2021.
Bike signals have been added throughout the corridor, particularly at entrances to the navy yard.
Greenway users have noted that the new path has unleashed far more pent-up cycling demand on the corridor than the path was designed for – a 2010 design standard being applied to 2021’s bike boom! It’s great to see so many people come out and use the greenway’s newest segment for transportation and recreation, and hopefully will lead to future-proof standards in greenway projects to come.