Last night, NYCDOT's Ted Wright presented a revised design for the Flushing Avenue bikeway to the transportation committee of Brooklyn Community Board 2. The new version preserves plans for a fully-protected, two-way bike path while leaving room for two-way bus service and auto traffic. Because the revised design requires more complex construction work than the original, however, Brooklynites will have to wait a few years before that phase of the project gets built. In the meantime, DOT plans to lay down a less-robust interim project, which the committee endorsed unanimously.
The interim project will extend the two-way bike path on Williamsburg Street West -- which is protected from traffic by jersey barriers -- onto the north side of Flushing, up to Washington Avenue. (To orient yourself, check out this map.) Between Washington and Navy Street, the plan calls for buffered bike lanes on each side of the street. Parking on the north side of the street will be removed.
The original concept for Flushing Avenue called for a two-way, protected bike path all the way to Navy Street, preserving curbside parking while eliminating the eastbound traffic lane. DOT could have built that out as an in-house project this summer, but adjusted its plans after Navy Yard businesses and local residents objected to the new traffic pattern.
The city hasn't backed away from its commitment to build a safe connection for bicyclists and pedestrians on Flushing, but it will take longer to get there. Phase two of the new plan for Flushing calls for widening the sidewalk on the north side of the street by six feet. The wider sidewalk will then accommodate a two-way bike path and pedestrian space. Since expanding the sidewalk along the entire street entails changes to drainage and grading, phase two will have to proceed through New York's multi-agency construction bureaucracy. Wright estimated that it would take two to four years to build.