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Traffic safety activists in Brooklyn say McGuinness Boulevard redesign is inadequate. Here's what they want.

Activists call for redesign of McGuinness Boulevard in Brooklyn
Activists call for redesign of McGuinness Boulevard in Brooklyn 02:21

NEW YORK - Traffic safety advocates in Brooklyn are pushing for a major redesign of a roadway they call unsafe.

They're calling on the Department of Transportation to implement the plan on a heavily trafficked one-mile stretch of McGuinness Boulevard in Greenpoint, but the change could mean bad news for businesses in the area.

"Make McGuinness Safe" wants protected bike lanes, reduced traffic lanes

On Friday, activists from a group called "Make McGuinness Safe" pushed Mayor Eric Adams and the DOT to stick to their original plan that includes reducing a lane of traffic in both directions and creating protected bike lanes. 

"When we go through the data and see that there's a crash every two days, a serious injury every eight days, that shouldn't be something that we just say is OK. And that's just all happening on McGuinness Boulevard," says NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams. 

The original plan was unveiled last May, but after heavy opposition from some local businesses, the mayor asked DOT to update the redesign and billed it as a compromise. It includes a bike lane and a so-called flex lane -- sometimes for driving, sometimes for parking. Work began last summer. 

"The bike lanes are always blocked. There is longer crossing distances for pedestrians. There's a general sense of just absolute confusion about who's supposed to be where, when," says Bronwyn Brightner, member of Make McGuinness Safe.

"Over 10,000 neighbors in the Greenpoint community have signed a petition to make McGuinness safe. Every elected official in the community supports this plan to make McGuinness safe. The mayor is ignoring us," adds Councilmemner Lincoln Restler, who represents this district.

Business owners want to "Keep McGuinness Moving"

Last September, tensions flared when local businesses from an opposing group called "Keep McGuinness Moving" protested against the changes, saying it will bring traffic to a standstill.

"It would become too difficult for productions to actually function properly in a city that is already difficult logistically," explained Nicholas Saad, owner of That Cat Camera Support, at the time.

DOT says it resumed work on the redesign on Tuesday, after a long break during the winter. The last few months, it has been monitoring the effects of the redesign on the northern end of the corridor, and says they're going to use that analysis to inform the way they approach the south corridor redesign, which is still up in the air. 

Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez responded in a statement that reads:

"Traffic safety is a key priority for Mayor Adams, and we are delivering a redesign of McGuinness Boulevard that will make this corridor safer for everyone. Too many New Yorkers have been injured or lost their lives on McGuinness Boulevard, and working with the community we will continue to make significant safety improvements."

Friday, activists with yellow flowers called out the names of people who have been killed on this road since its creation. 

Have a story idea or tip in Brooklyn? Email Hannah by CLICKING HERE.

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