Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, along with design firms Bjarke Ingels Group and WXY architecture + urban design have devised a new vision for the streetscapes of Downtown Brooklyn within the next decade.
According to Downtown Brooklyn Public Realm Action, one of the reasons for the redesign is to “meet the needs of its primary users — pedestrians, cyclists, and mass transit riders.”
And just in time with Biketober, the NYC DOT announced the completion of a brand new two-way bike lane on downtown Brooklyn’s Schermerhorn Street. In addition to 1.2 miles of protected bike lanes, the project has also brought one-way vehicle traffic, a new pedestrian space, and a bicycle route that connects the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges.
The redesign is intended to improve road safety not only for cyclists, but pedestrians & drivers alike. The 10-foot, two way bike lane will accommodate more than 1,000 cyclists daily on Schermerhorn Street. To make space for the transformation, a one-way conversion for vehicle traffic has been executed. Furthermore, public spaces have been added to intersections to reduce pedestrian crossing times and to slow drivers making turns. According to the NYC DOT, protected bike lanes decrease the number of fatalities and serious injuries by 18% and the “pedestrian islands” have been observed to reduce deaths and injuries by 35.5%.
“The Schermerhorn Street redesign is a monumental improvement in safety for local bike riders and pedestrians,” said Ken Podziba, President and CEO of Bike New York. “For too long, this area of Brooklyn has been a major site of placard abuse and unsafe driving.”
A new bike route linking the East River bridges to South Brooklyn and lower Manhattan will ensure safer transportation for cyclists, just as the fairly new Brooklyn Bridge bike lane has done, shared the recent press release.
Further improvements will tackle the current lack of lack of green space, multi-modal conflict and vehicular congestion, narrow and substandard sidewalks, placard parking abuse, disorienting street grids, and inconsistent streetscape + identity, as shared on their website.
“The pandemic has underscored the need to follow through on our public realm vision for a downtown that prioritizes people over cars and quality green spaces,” said Regina Myer, President of Downtown Brooklyn Partnership…This plan positions Downtown Brooklyn as a model for converting outdated infrastructure that no longer serves its constituents, and we are moving forward with our partners at the City to make our vision a reality.”
Similar to the Meatpacking District’s initiative, their plan is to “transform the public realm of Downtown Brooklyn by reclaiming its streets for greater pedestrian use and creating attractive, accessible public spaces that prioritize people and the environment.”
The designed roadmap will continue focusing on transforming the streets between Willoughby and Schermerhorn Streets north and south of the Fulton Mall from a central business district, to a downtown for people. Shared Street networks will continue being installed to slow traffic and promote pedestrian safety and accessibility “to create more welcoming, vibrant public spaces and strengthen the local economy.”
The area has seen extensive growth over the past few years and DBP’s plan is intended to accommodate this growth in order to make “Downtown Brooklyn a signature destination and a more livable neighborhood for all.”
Brooklynites can expect improved bike connectivity, an increase in safety, reduced bus congestion, 1,000 newly planted trees, and a more walkable downtown.
Learn more about what to expect on their website here.