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At Rally, Greenpoint Advocates Urge Mayor not to Backpedal on McGuinness Boulevard Redesign

Mayor Adams walked back on previously announced plans to add two bike lanes on Greenpoint’s McGuinness Boulevard. The decision upset supporters of the plan, but gave hope to its critics.
Kevin Lacherra speaks at a rally supporting the road diet for McGuinness Boulevard.

It's been a long and winding road for the Greenpoint group advocating for the addition of two protected bike lanes on McGuinness Boulevard. 

New York City Mayor Eric Adams previously announced support for the two new protected bike lanes, which would replace one traffic lane in each direction on the busy road. But, Adams changed his tune after a group of local business owners spoke against it and announced in a press conference that he has sent the NYC Department of Transportation back to the drawing board to come up with another plan. 

The pro-bike lane group, called Make McGuinness Safe, gathered outside City Hall on Thursday, July 13, to protest Adams' change of heart. Around 100 members of the group attended, holding posters with names of those killed in accidents on the street.

Adams said he changed his opinion after hearing about a well-attended town hall event last month, where Greenpoint residents and business owners spoke out against the plan.

“Four hundred people went to a meeting and they raised their concerns, and I listen to New Yorkers," said Adams at a July 10 press conference. “I’m not going to force-feed communities.”

A spokesperson for the mayor told BK Reader they do not have updates on the mayor’s position since the press conference.

The proposed "road diet" on McGuinness Boulevard. Photo: NYC DOT.

“We are here to tell the mayor that Greenpoint needs him to make good on his promise to our community and implement his plan to make McGuinness safe,” said Kevin Lacherra, a Greenpoint resident who attended the rally.

The Make McGuinness Safe group was formed after the May 2021 death of Matthew Jensen, a teacher at the nearby P.S. 110. Jensen was killed in a hit-and-run on the street.

Since then, a petition calling for a safer street and a protected bike lane has garnered more than 7,500 signatures. After Thursday’s rally, Council Member Lincoln Restler delivered the signatures in a box to the mayor’s office.

Several elected officials attended the rally to support the road diet, including Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso, NYC Public Advocate Jumanee Williams, Restler and New York State Sen. Julia Salazar.

Council Member Lincoln Restler holds a box of signatures at a rally in support of the McGuinness Boulevard road diet. Photo: Christopher Edwards for BK Reader.

“Every elected official stands with the people of Greenpoint, except for one,” Restler said at the rally, referring to Adams. “A road diet on McGuinness Boulevard is the way that we will achieve the safety that we deserve. And we're going to keep on fighting.”

Keep McGuinness Moving, the group that opposes the road diet, was glad to hear Adams was reconsidering the plan. The group said that bike lanes on the street would divert traffic to side streets and negatively impact local businesses.

“McGuinness is a truck route. We need to have the lanes at full capacity so trucks can operate on them and stick to the truck routes and not divert to side streets,” said Averianna Eisenbach, a Greenpoint resident and the founder of Keep McGuinness Moving.

The intersection of McGuinness Boulevard & Greenpoint Avenue. Photo: Google Street View.

Keep McGuinness Moving has a petition with more than 6,000 signatures in opposition to the road diet on the boulevard. The group has come under speculation for its involvement with Greenpoint soundstage company Broadway Stages and its owners, the Argento family.

However, Eisenbach said Keep McGuinness Moving is a grassroots movement, and support from local businesses was hard fought through tabling and door-to-door outreach.

“We have over 350 local businesses that are in opposition to this redesign,” said Eisenbach. “Every local business has a right to express their opinion.”

“I honestly think that Make McGuinness Safe and Keep McGuinness Moving should work together to come up with a plan that works for all sides,” said Evelyn Dul of Keep McGuinness Moving. “We're missing the support of elected officials to kind of act as a bridge instead of adding fuel to the fire.”

DOT told BK Reader that plans for the street are still not final. 

“NYC DOT is dedicated to enhancing the safety of critical arteries like McGuinness Boulevard," a DOT spokesperson said. "We’re reviewing community stakeholder feedback as we finalize the design."

Christopher Edwards

About the Author: Christopher Edwards

Christopher Edwards is a native Brooklynite and current student at Baruch College, majoring in Journalism and Creative Writing.
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