By Jessica Podkalicki
On Wednesday, January 21st, NAG hosted its second Volunteer Transportation Working Group. Individuals gathered from all over Northern Brooklyn at the lovely Bushwick Inlet Park Conference room to discuss various transportation issues in the neighborhood. With over a dozen volunteers in attendance, the second transportation working group meeting focused on brainstorming ideas and breaking into specific coalitions. The first part of the meeting carried on with introductions of those in attendance, which included a representative from Assembly Member Joseph Lentol’s Office and several staff members from the not-for-profit organization Transportation Alternatives. After introductions, NAG Board Member and the transportation working group’s organizer, Alan Minor, conducted the following announcements of some of the current transportation projects happening in the North Brooklyn area. The featured projects include the creation of the Pulaski Bridge Bikeway and reconstruction of the Kosciuszko Bridge.
For the next part of the meeting the group broke up into two coalitions: one in favor of the Meeker Avenue Campaign and the other favoring an L train Coalition Campaign. Personally, I chose to be part of the Meeker Avenue Campaign. This coalition was led by Luke Ohlson from Transportation Alternatives. We discussed the current situation with Meeker Avenue, which seems to not only be dangerous for bicyclists and pedestrians, but for motorists as well. Our individual groups got to brainstorming ideas for possible interventions. The Meeker Avenue Campaign focused on possible ways to improve safety along Meeker Avenue, which runs under the BQE from Newtown Creek up until Metropolitan Avenue. Some of the most problematic intersections that were discussed at the meeting were the intersections near Kingsland Avenue and the intersection near Union Avenue. Some of the issues found along Meeker Avenue include the motorist driving way over the speed limit, poorly timed traffic/street lights, no lighting under the BQE, and no real bike lanes along Meeker Avenue. Our task for the meeting was to come up with ideas for the Meeker Avenue area—including the introduction of bike lanes, creation of “greenspace” under the BQE, and changes in pavement structure to narrow the street. The L Train Coalition Campaign conducted a similar brainstorming session.
As a follow up to NAG’s Volunteer Transportation Working Group, Volume 1, this meeting shows the progress that can be made when individuals come together. As mentioned in the meeting, the North Brooklyn area is growing in size. Unfortunately the area’s infrastructure has not grown with the influx of new residents into North Brooklyn. The L, G, M, J, and Z trains are uncoordinated. Major roads and boulevards are unsafe for pedestrians. North Brooklyn is widely known for its poor mass transportation system. Thankfully, NAG has started an action group to try to rectify this transportation issue.