In the past year or so, the DOT has made great strides making the cycling corridor between North and South Brooklyn much safer. Besides the Bedford Avenue bike lane expansion (and slight retraction), a large stretch of Kent Avenue along the East River was turned into a cycling oasis: two lanes of bike lanes separated from traffic by parked cars. For a while, cyclists still had to share the road with motor vehicles on Kent, when the bike lane ended at Clymer Street, but a few months ago the DOT turned a wide, sparsely populated sidewalk on Kent into a shared-use bike and pedestrian zone. And then a hairy stretch of speedway on Williamsburg Street West, where cyclists would turn right to hook around the Navy Yards, was made infinitely safer by separating bikes from cars by a cement barricade. Which brings us to the not-fun-to-ride Flushing Avenue, where big changes await!

The DOT just unveiled a plan to add another piece to the Brooklyn Greenway bike lane puzzle, connecting Greenpoint to DUMBO with an almost uninterrupted stretch of dedicated bike lanes completely separate from traffic. Under the DOT's plan, motor vehicle traffic would be converted to one-way going westbound on Flushing Avenue between Kent Avenue and Navy Street. A green median with trees and a row of parking would separate bikers from traffic on this heavy truck route. There would also be another parking lane on the other side of Flushing. Wiley Norvell at Transportation Alternatives tells us, "It’s surreal to think of a dangerous street like Flushing becoming safe enough for kids to ride their bikes, but that’s precisely what this new protected lane will make happen. This street has a lot of potential to do more than just move cars."

The DOT's full proposal, which was presented to members of Community Board 2 on Tuesday, is here [pdf]; pending a thumbs-up from the community, the DOT would begin making the changes in July. Eastbound vehicular traffic would be rerouted to Park Avenue, which the DOT believes can easily absorb the additional strain. And a study by the DOT found that on Flushing Avenue, westbound traffic far outnumbers eastbound traffic anyway. (See graph.) Truckers bound for the Navy Yard would take the BQE until they can exit for westbound travel, which would have the added bonus of reducing truck traffic in residential neighborhoods like Clinton Hill.

In other cycling News, the DOT is currently making changes to the Williamsburg Bridge shared pedestrian/bike path, which carries 4,000 cyclists a day at its midsummer peak. According to the Post, the DOT "is installing a smooth, resurfaced path separating bikers from pedestrians... the new configuration will reduce conflicts between pedestrians and speedy cyclists by creating clearly marked pathways at the Manhattan end of the bridge and separating them entirely into two lanes on the Williamsburg side."