November 21, 2023
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NYC DOT Celebrates Transformation of Brooklyn’s Berry Street Into Bike Boulevard to Enhance Cyclist, Pedestrian Safety
Redesign of popular Open Street brings two-way cycling route, calms traffic through intersection enhancements, provides dedicated vehicle loading zones, and will reduce traffic volumes while preserving local vehicle access
Project redesigns every intersection along corridor to improve visibility and expand dedicated pedestrian space
New York — New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez announced today the completion of the dramatic transformation of Brooklyn's Berry Street Into a new Bike Boulevard. The innovative street redesign builds on the success of the popular Open Street by prioritizing pedestrian and cyclist safety and better connects them to Domino and McCarren parks, and the Williamsburg Bridge. Through redesigns of every intersection, new loading zones, and a series of one-way vehicle traffic reversals, NYC DOT naturally reduced vehicle volumes along Berry to create a high-comfort two-way cycling experience and a welcoming pedestrian corridor from Broadway to North 12th Street.
"Berry Street's innovative new design as a Bike Boulevard will help protect pedestrians and cyclists, reduce speeding, and provide dedicated loading zones to cut down on dangerous double parking," said NYC DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez. "Streets are public space, and designs like this show that we can reimagine the use of public space to benefit all road users. We will continue growing the Open Streets program while developing lasting changes at existing popular Open Streets—and we thank our partner here, North Brooklyn Open Streets, for their close collaboration and support on this project."
The new Bike Boulevard formalizes two-way cycling on what was previously a one-way street and was informed in part through the NYC DOT's pilot to test automated traffic count data. Through a traffic data camera placed on Berry and North 6th Street during Open Street operations, NYC DOT found about 20% of cyclists were already traveling southbound on the corridor.
NYC DOT installed two-way bike markings to facilitate those cycling trips while preserving one-way vehicle traffic—and, on several blocks, reversed vehicle traffic to the southbound direction. Those one-way reversals discourage drivers from using Berry Street unless needed, naturally reducing traffic volumes to only necessary local access. Drivers who do use Berry should travel five miles per hour. New coral-colored paint at specific intersections serves as a visual cue to help alert those drivers of traffic flow changes. Coral paint was also installed at intersections without stop signs or traffic lights. Emergency vehicles and other city vehicles, like sanitation trucks, can still access Berry Street under the new design.
The agency also redesigned every intersection along the corridor with new pedestrian curb extensions that are protected with planters, bike corrals, granite blocks, and other elements. These sidewalk expansions provide the dual benefit of creating more public space for those on the corridor while also improving visibility between crossing pedestrians and other road users.
The agency has also installed neighborhood loading zones at the start and end of every block to help reduce large truck traffic on the corridor. Vans are permitted to use the corridor for deliveries, loading, and unloading. Pedestrians are encouraged to continue using the full width of Berry Street during Open Street hours, which remain in effect from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. The Berry Street redesign compliments the transformation of the nearby North 15th Street Open Street Into a permanent public plaza, which was completed earlier this year.
"The people of Brooklyn deserve safe spaces when walking or biking on our city streets," said Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez. "The redesign of Berry Street Into a new Bike Boulevard will improve pedestrian and cyclist safety, better connecting to local parks and the Williamsburg Bridge, while allowing local vehicle traffic and loading zones. I thank the city for prioritizing these investments in cycling and pedestrian infrastructure, and I look forward to working with NYC DOT to make streets safer throughout Brooklyn."
"Brooklyn's Berry Street's transformation is remarkable and the result of years of community-led advocacy," said State Senator Kristen Gonzalez. "I commend the efforts of the New York City Department of Transportation to prioritize pedestrian and cyclist safety and creating safer and more accessible streets for all New Yorkers. I hope this space will serve as a shining example of sustainable design and inspire further positive changes in our city."
"I applaud the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) for transforming Berry Street Into a Bike Boulevard," said Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso. "It is critical that we further initiatives that will ease traffic and increase safety for all road users, especially those that are most vulnerable, on Brooklyn's streets — and the Berry Street Bike Boulevard does just that. I look forward to continued collaboration with DOT, government partners, and community members on expanding similar initiatives throughout the borough."
"With the official completion of Berry Street Open Streets and the Bike Boulevard, I look forward to seeing more community-based programming, public space being used for the public good, and much needed transportation connectivity across our district," said Council Member Jennifer Gutiérrez.
"I am thrilled to celebrate the completion of the permanent Berry Open Street design. This street will now be safe for pedestrians to stroll and enjoy and for cyclists to ride safely in both directions," said Council Member Lincoln Restler. "I appreciate the community members who have worked hard to maintain this open street and reimagined a public space that is for people and not just cars."
"It is fantastic to see infrastructure prioritizing cyclists and pedestrians, especially in a booming neighborhood like Williamsburg," said Ken Podziba, CEO of Bike New York. "Not only does this new corridor provide a safe cycling route, it encourages more people to engage with cycling and experience the neighborhood from a new vantage point. We know from the recently-released DOT data that cycling increases exponentially with the implementation of accessible bike lanes, and this thoughtful and data-backed addition will give north Brooklyn even more opportunity to ride."
"Berry Street is an outstanding example of what a neighborhood street can and should be, prioritizing foot traffic and improving safety through daylighting and shortened crossings and also dedicating space for cycling, loading and deliveries, and amenities like seating, all while preserving safe, low-speed motor-vehicle access for residents," said Eric McClure, Executive Director at StreetsPAC. "Kudos to NYC DOT and the locals who helped bring this laudable redesign effort to fruition."