Williamsburg residents object to DOT plan to turn Berry Street into bike boulevard
Williamsburg residents are opposing the Department of Transportation plan to turn Berry Street into a bike boulevard.
Berry Street has been an open street since 2020, but the DOT now intends to turn the section from Broadway to North 12th Street into a two-way bike boulevard.
Shannon Phipps of the Berry Street Alliance argues that the city has not fully studied the impacts the decision would have. Phipps, who is also a bicyclist, says many in the area believe the bike lane would make it harder for emergency response vehicles to reach those in need and hinder elderly residents’ ability to access the street.
The Berry Street Alliance also says closing it to cars would create traffic congestion for the surrounding streets. In response to the DOT’s plans, the group started a petition that already has more than 2,000 signatures.
Phipps says the street is already closed 12 hours a day, seven days a week for the Open Streets program, which causes tension between cyclists and drivers.
The city is set to begin the bike boulevard plan in spring of this year. However, the Berry Street Alliance hopes the city will do a full environmental study on how the decision would impact residents who live in the area.
The Department of Transportation provided this statement:
“Our bike boulevard proposal for Berry Street will better design the corridor for how it’s already being used—for people walking or biking—while making the roadway significantly safer for everyone. Surveys of more than 2,000 local residents show strong support for a redesign of the corridor that prioritizes cycling and pedestrians and we look forward to further outreach.”