Kent Repaving Starts


Kent Avenue, stripped.

In comments, reader JJ has a front-line report on the Kent Avenue repaving, which (as promised) started yesterday evening:

The transformation of Kent Ave. started last night. And kept me up most of the night as DOT crews tore up the asphalt between Broadway and S. 7th. Thank God!

Based on the condition of the street this morning, I can see why JJ didn’t get much sleep. This is more than just repainting the bike lanes – DOT is doing a full-on repaving.

JJ goes on to echo some of my own previous thoughts on the whole Kent Avenue tempest:

I’m glad to see some change, but the coming change is not the answer either. The bike lanes and no parking was a big mistake. It turned Kent Ave. already dangerous because of how people speed down it, into an open freeway… Kent Ave is not the West Side Highway, it’s not going to be the west side highway and the Brooklyn Greenway plan to make it into one was a mistake…

Indeed – the removal of parking on Kent Avenue has made the speeding (and passing) much worse. If you aren’t going at least 40, you have a good chance of being passed (either on the right or the left). DOT’s 2008 bike lane project did turn Kent into the West Side Highway (actually, it was already like that – the bike lane project just made it worse by eliminating all parking). The addition of parking and elimination of one lane of traffic should slow things down considerably.

What about pedestrians? how can the city have rezoned the whole waterfront for housing, on the other side of a truck route and not imagined that thousands of people a day might need to cross that street? The North side is still mostly without traffice lights to allow pedestrian crossing to the high rises and a state park — I mean come on get real.

Spot on – this is something I have been talking about since the bike lanes went in last year. The repaving of Kent Avenue that is going on right now is more than just painting new lines on the street – DOT is ripping up the street (a pretty new one, at that) to lay down new asphalt. They should be using this opportunity to put in an actual greenway, but they are not. But if DOT is not using this opportunity to put in traffic lights at at least three or four intersections between Grand and North 14th, they just don’t get it.

6 responses to “Kent Repaving Starts”

  1. The configuration that is being implemented now will be similar to the final layout for the greenway, except without some of the plantings and concrete barriers of a final buildout. It will basically act the same way with the striping as it will as a full greenway. The final designs take time due to utility relocations, drainage issues, plantings, and maintenance plans.
    I agree that the last iteration was a disaster. This, however, is a fairly light redesign of the street that will give the effects of a greenway without the 2-3 year wait for the full build-out. From what I understand, the construction is a light scraping of the top layer of asphalt, which is largely recycled and relayed. Then striping and signage are installed. Not too big a reconstruction, compared to what they did on Houston Street or Sands Street.

  2. I thought the developers of the waterfront were on the hook for creating the greenway along the waterfront as part of the rezoning. Kent street is not the waterfront. Isn’t this just letting the developers off easy on a promise made in exchange for blocking out the sky with highrise buildings?

  3. The developers are very much on the hook for building a waterfront esplanade on their property. But the esplanade is not the same as the greenway. The greenway run along 14 miles of the Brooklyn waterfront – in some places on the waterfront, in others (like here) just off it. I don’t remember why the Williamsburg and Greenpoint Greenway does not run along the water. It may be timing, both in terms of when the Greenway was implemented (after the rezoning) and the fact that the waterfront is privately owned and being developed in phases. It also keeps the esplanade and parks more passive, and the greenway more arterial.
    So, no – the developers are not getting off easy.

  4. Where are all the trucks that use Kent going to go? Why do we need two lanes for bikes? Everyone bikes on the Berry bike lane in both directions without issue. There is room for parking on the east side of Kent with loading areas as needed, two lanes of traffic, and a protected bike lane. Done.
    Oh and they had plenty of time to make the green way on the water front. A majority of the community fought to have just that done. No money in it I guess. All we got were privately own esplanades.

  5. DOT isn’t doing a full-on repaving. This isn’t a matter of “repainting” — the striping is epoxy based, so it needs to be removed. So DOT is undertaking a “microbrasion” which removes the very top layer of the street, and the existing stripings along with it. A real repaving is a much bigger deal.
    Once the new traffic pattern is in place DOT will do new pedestrian counts and see where traffic controls should be installed.

  6. Christian and all: The city looked at the waterfront for the greenway during the rezoning process, but there wasn’t enough space to make it continuous. Passive recreation and biking don’t mix well, so the city decided to make the waterfront esplanade a pedestrian environment.
    The greenway takes up more width than the esplanades and there wasn’t enough room along the length of our portion of waterfront to make it work.