DOT Unveils Livable Streets Makeover for Approach to Brooklyn Bridge Park

The Old Fulton Street redesign imposes some order, reclaims space for pedestrians, and fortifies bike routes. Image: NYC DOT

Last week NYC DOT presented plans for expanded pedestrian areas and upgraded bike markings on Old Fulton Street, which serves as the primary gateway to the recently opened Pier 1 of Brooklyn Bridge Park. The plan [PDF] calls for a new pedestrian plaza, treatments to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists crossing highway exits, and a concrete median intended to prevent illegal parking and bus drop-offs in the middle of Old Fulton Street. The transportation committee of Brooklyn Community Board 2 approved the plan in a 7-2 vote with one abstention.

Old Fulton Street is seeing a lot more use since the opening of Pier 1 last year, and it should only attract more people as the park adds new sections. The street also leads right to Fulton Ferry Landing, one of the stops along the route of the city’s new East River ferry service. But Old Fulton Street currently meets the park and the ferry landing with big open expanses of asphalt, leading to something of a free-for-all among drivers and buses making drop-offs at the park.

The redesign aims to impose some order, give priority to pedestrians, and prevent buses from unloading passengers and making U-turns at the end of Old Fulton Street. Tour buses will be encouraged to load and unload on Furman Street, out of the way of the main walking and biking routes to the park.

The full project includes a number of features to make walking and biking to the park safer and more convenient:

  • Sidewalk extensions, planted medians, and crosswalks where Old Fulton Street crosses entrances and exits to the Brooklyn Queens Expressway
  • Additions to the bike network: Sharrows on Old Fulton will be upgraded to striped lanes, and a short stretch of Front Street will get new markings, enhancing the connection between DUMBO and the route of the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway
  • A neckdown where York Street empties onto Front Street will narrow the crossing distance from 71 feet to 25 feet

As part of the reconfiguration, the B25 will be re-routed to avoid performing a U-turn on Old Fulton on weekends, most likely by following the same circuit it takes on weekdays. More details from the DOT presentation after the jump.

Currently the open asphalt at the end of Old Fulton Street leads to a lot of illegal parking, U-turns, and drop-offs in the middle of the street. Image: NYC DOT

New plaza space on Old Fulton Street should give people some breathing room on the sidewalk even when the line at Grimaldi's is at its longest. It's hard to tell from the rendering, but the project also adds striped bike lanes to both sides of this block. Image: NYC DOT

Further inland, the project would add new sidewalk space and medians where Old Fulton meets traffic heading to and from the BQE. Image: NYC DOT