North Henry residents worried about DOT proposal
by Melissa Goldin
Apr 17, 2018 | 3296 views | 0 0 comments | 114 114 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Residents and business owners on North Henry Street are troubled by Department of Transportation (DOT) recommendations to reverse the direction of through traffic on the block, a change they believe would increase congestion and pose a threat to their safety, quality of life and property values.

There are two options currently on the table. One would send traffic southbound from Greenpoint Avenue to Norman Avenue, which is mostly industrial, while keeping it northbound from Norman Avenue to Nassau Avenue, which is residential and ends at Monsignor McGolrick Park.

The other would make North Henry Street from Greenpoint to Nassau avenues southbound in its entirety.

A DOT representative presented the North Henry Street recommendations, among others, at a Community Board 1 meeting on April 10, after which a large, vocal contingent from North Henry Street expressed its discontent about the proposed changes.

“Our block is the envy of the neighborhood,” North Henry Street resident Hugh Darcy said. “This would absolutely ruin the whole block. Hopefully it doesn’t happen.”

These recommendations are part of the North Williamsburg Transportation Study, an initiative which began in 2016 and aims to address growing congestion issues and improve quality of life for residents and visitors of the rapidly developing area.

The study has been informed largely by community input garnered through public feedback initiatives and an online map on which the public could point out transportation-related issues.

Multiple comments on the map expressed frustration about speeding cars and truck traffic on Monitor Street, which runs parallel to North Henry Street in the opposite direction and is home to P.S. 110, despite “No Thru Truck Traffic” signs at Norman and Nassau avenues.

DOT’s recommendations for North Henry Street are meant to help alleviate these issues while still providing a route for trucks to get to the North Brooklyn Industrial Zone and the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, but residents are concerned that an increase in congestion, especially large trucks, could create additional noise and fumes, as well as danger for the many young children who live on the block, decreasing their quality of life in addition to their property values.

“Whenever the city has to weigh individual needs with commercial needs, the former always loses,” North Henry Street resident Adam Dressler said.

Businesses such as the Henry Norman Hotel, located at the intersection of North Henry Street and Norman Avenue, are also concerned about the recommendations and worried about how the changes could damage their livelihood.

Community Board 1’s Transportation Committee discussed the issue further at a meeting on April 16. DOT has asked the community board to vote on the plan before they move forward and the committee is working to plan another meeting with the department in May, but a date has not been finalized yet.

According to a DOT spokesperson, the plan will continue to evolve based on public input and other considerations.

"As we continue to review this corridor for safety enhancements, DOT will base future designs on community input, safety, and feasibility," the spokesperson said.

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