City Plans Pedestrian-Friendly Tillary Street


The future of Tillary and Adams streets would include wider, landscaped medians for both pedestrians and bicyclists, according to plans presented last night at the second public meeting about the impending 2012 renovation.

“We want a complete street that doesn’t just function for automobiles,” said Chris Hrones, Downtown Brooklyn’s transportation coordinator.

The two-year Department of Transportation project has already secured $14.4 million in funding, but is looking to secure more federal money from the TIGER stimulus fund.

The work on Tillary and Adams streets will coincide with the upcoming, but separate reconstruction of the Brooklyn Bridge ramp, which also includes a fresh paint job for the bridge.

The center median would be widened to more than double its current size and include 12 feet of landscaping, a seven-foot wide pedestrian walkway and a seven-foot wide bike lane.

“We’re trying to go for more of a street feel, less of a highway feel,” said William Vallejo, a traffic engineer on the project.

Although the wider median would reduce the number of vehicle lanes on Tillary Street, DOT employees said they were confident that it would not affect the flow of traffic. In fact, they said shorter pedestrian crosswalks would allow for better traffic flow, because if it takes pedestrians a shorter amount of time to cross the street, then more cars can go in a traffic light cycle.

Among other changes, the DOT is looking at widening sidewalks in order to shorten the length across pedestrian crosswalks, which are currently 134 feet wide on Tillary Street and 126 feet on Adams Street.

The project would also consolidate the main Adams Street thoroughfare with the service roads running parallel to it. Overall, the project will eliminate about 24 parking spots.

The proposal had a lukewarm reception, with one attendee saying the proposal was “very nice, but didn’t include anything outside the box.”

Some audience members questioned the absence of a mid-block crosswalk on Adams Street between the Brooklyn Bridge and Tillary Street, but the suggestion was quickly shot down because drivers typically don’t pay as much attention to pedestrian-only crosswalks. A suggestion for a pedestrian bridge was also dismissed as too expensive, because it would add as much as $10 million to the project.

If you couldn’t attend the presentation (which we will post as soon as we get it), you can leave your feedback on the project at the Department of Transportation website. What do you want to see happen on Tillary Street?

(BHB photo by Sarah Portlock)

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  • nabeguy

    How about a pedestrian underpass? I get a bit of a shiver up my spine when I hear things like “DOT employees said they were confident that it would not effect the traffic flow”. Shouldn’t they put their confidence to the test in advance and close off one lane now to see how it effects the traffic flow? I think the spirit of the plan is good, but the methodology behind it seems shaky.

  • MaggsTaggs

    Wouldn’t it be wonderful if they could submerge the Brooklyn bridge off ramp. It would eliminate crosswalks and MVAs completely, as well as all that traffic noise and eye sore. The space above could be converted into a little plaza. This would be great for residents (me!) and visitors to Brooklyn, who would be greeted after their walk across the bridge with a park; concessions and a visitor’s kiosk, rather then concrete chaos and confusion. It would be a protracted and pricey project, but I believe it would be worth it in the long run assuming that it would not interfere with subways or other subterranean infrastructure.