What Does a Safe McGuinness Look Like?

Existing and proposed street designs
Existing and proposed street designs

After two years of advocacy from Greenpoint neighbors and elected officals, and after a thorough study by the DOT, the DOT has proposed a redesign of McGuinness Boulevard. The plan will:

  • Add a protected bike lane in each direction to protect cyclists and make the street safer for all road users
  • Remove one lane of traffic in each direction to slow traffic and accomodate the new bike lanes
  • Add neighborhood loading zones to faciliate local deliveries
  • Maintain the majority of existing street parking

We are supportive of these changes, and would like to see them implemented as soon as possible.

Where are we now?

The DOT is ready to begin implementing the redesign this summer (2023). However, despite a variety of DOT engagement over the past year; the support of thousands of Greenpoint neighbors as well as our councilmember, state senator, and state assemblyperson; the plan is now, at the 11th hour, facing serious opposition that could entirely derail it. You can read more about the opposition in publications such as Curbed and The City, as well as from our Instagram (here and here).

We need to show the Mayor's office that Greenpoint is firmly in support of a redesigned McGuinness, where residents, visitors, and workers can walk, bike and drive safely. Please sign the petition and follow our Instagram for further updates and calls to action. We can't do this without you!


The McGuinness Boulevard redesign is carefully planned to improve traffic flow and safety without causing significant disruption to side streets. One of the common concerns when a road is redesigned is that traffic will be diverted to smaller side streets, but this is not necessarily the case.

Induced demand occurs when an expansion of road capacity leads to more people choosing to drive, which can often negate any improvements in traffic flow.

Conversely, when road capacity is reduced, as in the McGuinness Boulevard redesign, some of the traffic may simply evaporate. People adjust their behavior quickly: they may choose alternate routes, switch to walking, cycling or public transportation, change the times they travel, or simply not take that trip.

30% to 50% of the traffic on McGuinness is cut-through. By making McGuinness less attractive as a shortcut between the Long Island Expressway and the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, the redesign is expected to largely reduce the overall volume of traffic through reduced demand and keeping traffic on the Expressways. Because the current advantage of McGuinness over the BQE and LIE is only about a minute, it will not be attractive for this traffic to divert to side streets.

In Manhattan, reducing motorised traffic on Broadway hasn't caused (more) congestion on parallel avenues. In Barcelona, interventions greatly decreased traffic on affected streets and in adjacent streets, with directly adjacent streets reporting a minimal increase in traffic (+0.7%). In 2001, researchers reviewing road interventions in multiple countries concluded that predictions of unbearable traffic as a result of reallocating space away from private vehicles were, in most cases, alarmist.

If, against predictions, the DOT's monitoring shows that spillover traffic on side streets occurs, it can be mitigated by traffic calming, turn restrictions, one-way reversals, etc.

You can show your support by signing and sharing the petition, following the campaign on twitter and instagram, attending our events, and contacting elected officials directly to voice your support. If you would like to volunteer with the campaign, contact us.

The redesign will actually help in facilitating deliveries by including dedicated loading zones on every block for small businesses to use. In NYC, loading zones have reduced double-parking by up to 70%. Neighborhood loading zones cut the time that commercial drivers spend looking for parking. This also reduces air pollution, noise, and fuel consumption.

It will not! Currently, McGuinness traffic consists of 30% to 50% cut-thru traffic, mainly from drivers seeking a shortcut between the Long Island Expressway and the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. By removing lanes from McGuinness, the new design disincentivizes drivers from leaving the highway to use McGuinness as a shortcut. This helps clear up the traffic for neighbors running errands and businesses getting deliveries.

Streets that have undergone similar redesigns in NYC have seen an increase in sales.
  • Vanderbilt Ave, BK: 100% increase
  • 9th Ave, Manhattan: 49% increase
  • Bronx Hub, Bronx: 50% increase
By balancing space for pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers, while adding loading zones and preserving parking, the McGuinness Boulevard redesign will make local businesses more accessible for more people.

This is why 100+ businesses located on or near McGuinness Boulevard support the DOT's plans to make it safe.

The redesign will not impede emergency vehicles. All DOT changes are approved by the FDNY. The new bike lanes will be accessible to emergency vehicles should they need it, effectively allowing them to bypass any traffic on the boulevard (an improvement from the current design).

Although there are some signs on McGuinness indicating it's an evacuation route, specific evacuation routes are no longer in use by NYC. Should an evacuation be necessary, residents will still be able to use the boulevard on foot, by vehicle, or by bicycle.

In Paris, new cycle paths have significantly reduced emergency vehicle response time.

DOT has actually invested a lot of time and effort in reaching out to the wider local community. This has included:

The redesign is supported by: