Street aid: Downtown Brooklynites ask DOT to flip traffic on Bond Street after Schermerhorn redesign

The newly-redesigned Schermerhorn Street includes a long-overdue protected bike lane and different measures designed to make the thoroughfare and its tributaries safer for cyclists, drivers, and pedestrians alike. But some Downtown Brooklyn residents say the conversion of the road to a one-way has led to gridlock within the nabe, and town’s Department of Transportation is contemplating an answer.

To make approach for the brand new two-way protected bicycle lane, DOT made Schermerhorn Street one-way eastbound between Smith Street and Third Avenue — eliminating a car traffic lane. Now, those that dwell and drive on Schermerhorn Street are having hassle driving north, towards Fulton Street, as a result of all the streets crossing Schermerhorn Street are one-way southbound.

Bond Street is at the moment a one-way northbound up till Schermerhorn Street — the place it switches to one-way southbound. Restler and Brooklyn Community Board 2 say extending the northbound route on Bond would give locals a straightforward approach to get out of the nabe. Google Maps

“As a result of the one-way conversion on Schermerhorn, our offices have received numerous complaints regarding the conversion’s impact on traffic patterns on surrounding streets,” Councilmember Lincoln Restler wrote in an Oct. 6 letter to DOT Brooklyn Borough Commissioner Keith Bray. “The primary concern is that there are currently no northbound connections south of Schermerhorn Street, between Smith Street and Flatbush Avenue.”

Restler, together with Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon and state Senator Andrew Gounardes, requested the division to research a seemingly-simple resolution: lengthen Bond Street’s northbound route one block additional, to Livingston Street. Currently, Bond is one-way northbound up till Schermerhorn, the place it modifications to one-way southbound.

“We believe that this proposal will improve traffic flow and enhance the public’s access to essential services, deliveries, and residences,” Restler wrote. “We request that DOT expeditiously analyze this proposal.” 

On Thursday, Brooklyn Community Board 2’s Transportation and Public Safety Committee voted to second that request.

“It allows the residents who are on Schermerhorn and State to have a way of getting out relatively easily without bouncing into traffic,” stated committee chair Sid Meyer on the Oct. 20 meeting. “And that’s all this is, it’s relatively simple.”

DOT is weighing a possible northbound conversion, in accordance to a division consultant.

Plenty of locals spoke up in regards to the problem of navigating the neighborhood after the conversion — from spending hours traversing a number of locked-up blocks to struggling to get residence on Access-A-Ride as a result of the vans don’t have a straightforward place to flip onto their streets.

schermerhorn street ribbon cutting
City officers formally reduce the ribbon on the newly-redesigned Schermerhorn Street on Oct. 12, although the roadway had already been in use for a number of weeks. Locals and pols are hoping the straightforward change on Bond Street will alleviate gridlock traffic and different points for Schermerhorn Street residents. NYC DOT/Twitter

“I just want to say, myself and a number of people in this building would also be in favor of this,” stated Shannon, a resident of Bond Street, in the course of the meeting. “It doesn’t just affect State Street, it doesn’t just affect Schermerhorn — now, on Bond, what used to be an easy commute is chaos — we have ambulances going one way down our street that’s currently going the other way, we have ambulances in the bike lane.”

The committee was certain to add a clause to their request — that DOT preserve and shield the Bond Street bike lane with some sort of bodily barrier just like the small plastic “armadillos” it’s piloting elsewhere within the metropolis. 

The movement to make the request was handed with 10 “yes” votes and two abstentions. 

“With a two-way protected bike lane and new pedestrian space, the Schermerhorn Street redesign has delivered transformative safety upgrades to a busy cycling corridor,” DOT spox Vin Barone instructed Brooklyn Paper. “As with every project, we are reviewing post-implementation if there are any adjustments that need to be made in addition to these life-saving improvements.”

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