The DOT unveiled its latest plan [pdf] to resolve Brooklyn's Kent Avenue bike lane wars at a packed community meeting Wednesday night, and guess what? Not everyone is pleased about the proposal, which would turn part of Kent, a heavily-trafficked two-way truck route, into a one-way, northbound street. Business owners and residents have decried the bike lanes ever since they were installed last fall because they came at the cost of precious parking spots, and members of South Brooklyn's Satmar Jewish community who were said to chafe at the influx of immodestly dressed female cyclists.
Now the bike lane's former opponents are embracing the new proposal, which would return up to 200 parking spaces to Kent, and cyclists are happy because part of Kent would feature a protected two-way bike path, bringing them close to a Brooklyn Greenway connecting north Brooklyn with Sunset Park. Even former anti-bike lane gadfly Leo Moskowitz—who you'll recall from the phony detour sign saga—is on board, telling Brooklyn Paper, "It’s the city and you’ve got to give and take. If the bikers and the business owners are accommodated, it’s a win-win."
But the DOT has found new opposition from Williamsburg residents further inland who are none too pleased about the tractor trailers that would be rerouted through their neighborhood. The plan calls for southbound truck traffic to be diverted off Kent Avenue at North 14th Street, then south on Wythe Avenue for three blocks to North 11th Street, where signs would direct the trucks to barrel east toward an existing truck route on Union Avenue. (See map above.) Wiley Norvell at Transportation Alternatives, which supports the changes, tells us, "It’s going to be important to monitor and enforce [the truck route], and make sure trucks don’t go off-route on Wythe."
Stephanie Eisenberg, an outspoken opponent of the high-rise condo explosion in Williamsburg, was just one resident who derided the new plan as "mayhem! With all of these new residential communities, how are you going to reactivate a truck route? If the bike lanes are the tipping point, you should get rid of one of them." Some day this bike lane war's gonna end, but today is not that day.