New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has committed to carving out nearly $40 million from the city’s budget to redesign Brooklyn’s McGuinness Boulevard, site of eleven pedestrian deaths and three cyclist deaths since 1995. According to StreetsBlog, a single 1.25-mile stretch of McGuinness Boulevard, from the Pulaski Bridge to the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, has been home to 1,548 car crashes since 2013, injuring “40 cyclists, 59 pedestrians, and 236 motorcyclists.” A deadly crash last month killed schoolteacher Matthew Jensen near the BQE’s entry ramp; the driver of the hit-and-run has not yet been found.
The Mayor’s plan for the McGuinness Boulevard redesign, according to the Department of Transportation, commits to “fully redesign the corridor, including immediate safety enhancements and a full corridor redesign in 2022, with a commitment of $39 million in capital funding.” Some near-term improvements will include the addition of sidewalks, “turn calming, and other safety treatments” planned to be complete by fall 2021. Mayor de Blasio’s successor will “engage the community” as to how best to implement the $39 million; StreetsBlog notes that some expected uses include protected bike lanes and “shortened pedestrian crossings,” with construction expected to begin in 2022.
In a statement about the development, Emily Gallagher, an Assembly member in Greenpoint, said the Mayor’s plan “will restore a basic right to our community: the freedom to cross the street without fear of death of injury.” Lincoln Restler, a candidate for City Council, said: “This is a big deal… Credit is due to the administration for putting up real money to make McGuinness safe. Our community will be sure to hold the next mayor accountable to spending every penny of the $39 million on a complete redesign of McGuinness to end the highway that cuts through our neighborhood once and for all.” Another candidate for the same seat, Elizabeth Adams, said: “We also need to ensure the timeline for implementation moves forward quickly and in partnership with the community, so that we see improvements before the end of this mayor’s term.”
StreetsBlog reports that families in the neighborhood surrounding the dangerous stretch of McGuinness Boulevard are also calling for widened sidewalks, a wider median, “a two-way protected bike lane connecting the Pulaski Bridge” to an existing bike lane project on Meeker Avenue, and the removal of a lane of traffic in each direction “as a traffic calming measure.”
More information on the plan to redesign McGuinness Boulevard to mitigate car crash deaths and injuries is available via StreetsBlog.