2014-02-27 / Other News

CB18 Approves Plans To Turn Paerdegat Speedway Into A Bikeway

Photos and text by
Linda Steinmuller

Paerdegat Avenue North looking southbound. Paerdegat Avenue North looking southbound. It seems that everywhere you look around New York City, there’s a new bikeway popping up. The 11-mile bike path along the west side of Manhattan, the Hudson River Greenway, was one of the first bikeways and more bike paths have been added recently along the Brooklyn side of the East River. Canarsie is joining in the action too – with plans to convert Paerdegat Avenue North into a greenway – but not all residents are pleased and many expressed their concerns at last Wednesday’s Community Board 18 (CB18) meeting.

Department of Transportation (DOT) representatives Ted Wright, Director, and Alice Friedman, Project Manager - Greenways, Office of Bicycle and Pedestrian Programs, gave presentations outlining the city’s proposal to create more “green” space in Canarsie. “The community requested an alternate route to Canarsie Pier in 2010. This proposal will add a recreational trail extending nearly one mile from Flatlands Avenue to Seaview Avenue, starting at East 76th Street and continuing along Paerdegat Avenue North,” Wright explained to those in attendance at the John Malone Community Center.

Ted Wright, Director – Greenways, Office of Bicycle and Pedestrian Programs, outlines proposal to add bike lane to Paerdegat Avenue North. Ted Wright, Director – Greenways, Office of Bicycle and Pedestrian Programs, outlines proposal to add bike lane to Paerdegat Avenue North. Known as the Canarsie Connector, the route will provide better access to the pier, Canarsie Park and the Jamaica Bay Greenway, a continuous 19-mile loop around Jamaica Bay.

Paerdegat Avenue North has a reputation as a speedway and has had its share of car accidents. In his presentation, Wright acknowledged that speeding was one of the transportation issues along the north-south roadway in addition to inadequate sidewalks on the west side and lack of pedestrian crossings along the thoroughfare.

One concerned resident asked whether traffic lights would be added to Paerdegat Avenue North, stating that the four stop signs along the strip are nothing more than ‘yield’ signs for speeding drivers. Claudette Workman, Brooklyn Community Coordinator for the Greenway program, explained that traffic signals must be warranted and that more pedestrian traffic is needed to add traffic lights, noting that this could change in the future as more people make use of the greenway.

Stating current traffic patterns, the DOT does not believe that two vehicular lanes are necessary along Paerdegat Avenue North. Their proposal is to narrow the roadway, while making a wider space for one lane of traffic, and create additional space for bicyclists and pedestrians along the west sidewalk. A six-foot buffer, which will provide space for planters, will separate a parking lane from the moving lane, i.e. for cars.

Everyone was in agreement that the right-hand turn from Paerdegat 1st Street onto East 76th Street, near the “Greenstreets” which opened in 2012, was much too narrow and the DOT has agreed to look into implementing changes there.

Proposed solutions include a refurbished sidewalk on the west side of the thoroughfare to enable pedestrian access to several of the facilities along the strip, including marinas, canoe clubs and athletic facilities.

Other residents expressed concerns about protecting bikers, walkers and joggers on the narrow strip along East 76th Street. The DOT noted that the bike path would be narrower along this street but is looking into specialized markings, jersey barriers and flexible bollards for added protection.

CB18 voted in favor of the greenway proposal as long as the community’s input is included in the planning process.

Help be a part of planning the Jamaica Bay pedestrian and bicycle path system at these upcoming workshops: Marine Park/Sheepshead Bay: Wednesday, April 2nd at 6:30 p.m. at the Carmine Carro Community Center, 3000 Fillmore Avenue.

Canarsie/Spring Creek: Tuesday, April 8th at 6:30 p.m. at Brooklyn Sports Club, 1540 Van Siclen Avenue. RSVP to: jamaicabaygreenway@dot. nyc.gov.

The next CB18 meeting will take place on Wednesday, March 19th at 7 p.m. at the John Malone Community Center, 2335 Bergen Avenue.

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