The New York City Department of Transportation’s preliminary redesign plan for McGuinness Boulevard in Greenpoint, has received criticism from local residents and elected officials. The large, busy Brooklyn road has seen 1,548 reported car crashes in the last nine years, resulting in injuries to 40 cyclists, 59 pedestrians, and 236 drivers, according to a recent report by Streetsblog. It has also seen three fatalities since 2014, the report notes, with the 2021 hit-and-run of teacher Matthew Jensen sparking then-Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration to commit to redesigning the street.
According to Streetsblog, city officials proposed three redesign options. One would only permit parking during “non-rush hours,” while installing a protected bike lane and maintaining the street’s current four lanes of traffic. A second “would remove a lane in each direction and add a protected bike lane on each side,” without making any changes to the parking situation. A third “would remove a car and parking lane on the southbound side,” while installing a “two-way protected bike lane” along the roadway’s western half. Transit safety advocates reportedly supported the second option, while critiquing its maintenance of parking, arguing that removing parking as well as lanes of traffic is key to making McGuinness Boulevard safer.
One council member, Lincoln Restler, reportedly said he was “disappointed” in the DOT’s proposals at a meeting last week, calling for the agency to “go back to the drawing board.” This appeared to be the plan anyway, per Streetsblog, with the DOT telling attendees that it would have to “perform additional analysis” on potential externalities stemming from the second and third plans, which might redirect car and truck drivers to currently less-trafficked side streets.
Many community members at the meeting reportedly tried to direct attention to the bigger picture, which they see as a massive road that “widened in the 1950s from a quiet neighborhood street to a mini-highway,” risking not only public safety but also air quality and the social fabric of the neighborhood. As one attendee reportedly said, “We need something more drastic to cut pollution, bring our community together and keep our children safe.”
More information on New York City’s plans to make McGuinness Boulevard safer, after years of car crash injuries and deaths, is available via Streetsblog.