And other new moves from the DOT
Metered Parking under the BQE from Graham Avenue to Morgan Avenue
In late November of 2020, the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) revealed a plan to the community for converting the area under the BQE along Meeker Avenue from free parking to metered parking in addition to other improvements. The section from Graham Avenue to Morgan Avenue currently is cleared of any parked vehicles. Along the southern edge is a green bike path, and along the northern edge are signs for parking rates ($1.50 per hour from 7 a.m.–6 p.m, except Sundays) and where to pay.
Local drivers who have utilized the free parking under the BQE are voicing their disapproval on social media about the potential added expense of what could be $99 weekly at most. Some have offered compromises like resident parking passes or monthly rates. Vincent Barone of the NYC Department of Transportation stated, “The parking meters were activated on Jan. 19. NYPD enforces metered parking throughout the city. The metering of Meeker between Graham and Metropolitan will come in stage 2 of this project, which we expect to begin in the Spring.”
New Right-of-Way Rule Protects Pedestrians
On January 19 a new pedestrian right-of-way rule went into effect. The DOT posted a basic interpretation of the rule on facebook, “A new rule goes into effect in NYC today which requires drivers to stop, rather than yield, for pedestrians in intersections when traffic controls are not in place. Drivers must remain stopped until such pedestrians cross the roadway.”
This set off a barrage of comments from angry drivers who blame selfish pedestrians who cross streets against the light for getting hit, which leads the DOT to make more rules that protect the careless and ticket drivers.
On January 26, the tally of traffic fatalities in NYC for 2021 was released. The death count was 273 which made this the deadliest year since 2013, when the count hit 299. Despite drivers’ grumbling, the rise in traffic deaths demonstrates there is a need for more safety measures.
There are several intersections in the community where this rule could prove to be helpful. One in particular is North 3rd Street and Kent Avenue, which may see more foot traffic now that Trader Joe’s opened.
McGuinness Boulevard Redesign
McGuinness Boulevard has long been one of the more dangerous streets to cross for pedestrians and cyclists. Last May Matthew Jensen, a beloved teacher at P.S. 110, was killed by a hit-and-run when walking across McGuinness at Bayard. His death was the last straw for many street safety activists, including NYS Assembly Member Emily Gallagher who participated in collecting data for a street safety survey on McGuinness Boulevard in 2010. As a member of the NYS Assembly, Gallagher worked with the community and partnered with elected officials to deliver $39M for a comprehensive redesign and safety improvements along McGuinness Boulevard. There have been several virtual workshops conducted by the DOT. Through March 1, 2022, the DOT is accepting community input online at: https://nycdotprojects.info/project/mcguinness-blvd just click on the feedback icons. They are also accepting written comments that can be dropped off at the Greenpoint Public Library (107 Norman Ave) during their normal business hours.
Brooklyn Border Signs Updated
Brooklyn has flare. When you enter Brooklyn a sign welcomes you with “How Sweet It Is” or “Name It … We Got It!” or “Believe The Hype!” or “Like No Other Place In The World!” or “Where New York City Begins!” or “Home To Everyone From Everywhere!” or “Not Just A Borough, An Experience”, and when you leave it signs tell you, “Fuhgeddaboudit!” or “Oy Vey!” This is all thanks to former Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, who implemented the signs in 2004 for the reason, “I wanted to let everyone know coming into Brooklyn or leaving that they were in a special place or leaving a special place,” Markowitz said to the Brooklyn Eagle in May 25, 2016.
At the base of these signs are the names of the Mayor and Brooklyn Borough President. Therefore, the signs needed to be updated to reflect the new officials who took office this year. The Pulaski Bridge was the site of the last sign to be updated, so on January 24 all ten signs proclaim Mayor Eric Adams and Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso.