North Williamsburg Transportation Study, Part 1: Projects

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The North Williamsburg traffic study is finally here… almost. While the final report is due to be released by the Department of Transportation in the near future, the DOT has already begun presenting the findings to a community that has waited patiently for results since the study was first announced in 2016.

At a sparsely attended meeting at P.S. 84 last Thursday, a DOT spokesperson presented the study’s findings to about 20 residents and community leaders, along with representatives from local councilmembers Levin and Reynoso’s offices.

There are 10 major improvements outlined in the North Williamsburg Transportation Study. While they are all referred to as recommendations in the presentation, the DOT has already begun implementing some of the projects, while others will move from recommendation to project later on.

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The four projects mentioned in the study that are currently in various stages of implementation by the DOT are as follows:

1. Nassau Avenue/Bedford Avenue/Lorimer Street

The current situation at the intersections of Nassau, Bedford and Lorimer (Via DOT)

At the intersection of Nassau Avenue, Bedford Avenue and Lorimer Street near McCarren Park, a number of issues with confusing crossings and pedestrian safety will be fixed through curb extensions, lane changes and a consolidated bus stop:

The proposed changes to the intersection of Nassau, Lorimer and Bedford (Via DOT)

Two large curb extensions will give pedestrians more room and make crossings shorter, increasing safety. The bike lane along Nassau that previously disappeared at Guernsey Street will be extending to the intersection, ending in a bike box ahead of the cars, which will give cyclists a jump on negotiating their next turns.

The last small stretch of Bedford Avenue will switch to one-way traffic, and the northbound B62 stop will be moved down to a consolidated stop on Nassau Avenue between Lorimer and Manhattan Avenue. Finally, the Bus Only stretch of Nassau across Manhattan will be painted to increase visibility.

The DOT predicts these changes will add 22 alternate side parking spots to the intersection, along with commercial loading zones.

2. North Henry & Eckford One-Way Conversions

The next project, concerning one-way conversions of narrow streets, was presented to Community Board 1 in April, and faced some harsh criticism from residents of the affected streets.

While it appears the project will continue, community feedback may have led to one change being implemented: the DOT has decided on Option 1 for the southbound one-way conversion of North Henry street. That means the one-way section will run from Greenpoint Avenue to Norman Avenue, not all the way to Nassau Avenue.

The DOT has decided to proceed with Option 1, terminating the one-way on North Henry Street at Norman instead of extending it to Nassau (Via DOT)

Click here to read our previous coverage of the one-way conversion projects on North Henry and Eckford

3. Broadway at Union Street

Support pillars from the elevated train tracks give pedestrians a false sense of security (Via DOT)

At Broadway and Union Streets, a project is underway to increase pedestrian safety through curb extensions and shorter crossings. According to the DOT spokesperson, the columns from the elevated JMZ tracks running along Broadway give pedestrians a false sense of security, encouraging them to walk into the roadway, dangerously closed to traffic—as in the image above.

The images below show the current state of the intersection and the proposed changes, which are indicated in red:

The project will create two curb extensions out to the closest columns, cutting down the crossing distance for pedestrians and keeping them out of danger.

This will lead to right turn restrictions, however, from both north- and southbound Union Avenue onto Broadway. Luckily, two existing diversions a half-block ahead of the current turns will provide alternate access, at Lynch Street and Johnson Avenue, as seen below:

Alternate access routes to turn from Union Avenue onto Broadway already exist (Via DOT)

3. Broadway at Debevoise Street

Further down, a similar project is coming to the intersection of Broadway and Debevoise, just up from the Broadway/Flushing intersection. Once again, columns from the elevated subway pose a danger to pedestrians, but this intersection has another flaw: the B46 bus stop overlaps with the crosswalk, leaving pedestrians to cross Broadway around the bus in dangerous, low-visibility situations.

You can view the current arrangement and the proposed fix below:

The curb extension would shorten crossings for pedestrians at both Debevoise and Broadway while allowing the bus to stop without putting pedestrians at risk.

These projects are in the very early stages of implementation, and we will report on their progression.

Tomorrow, we’ll look at the 6 remaining projects covered in the study, which are currently still classified as recommendations. The full report from last week’s meeting can be found online, while the final report is yet to be released.

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