Prospect Heights

[Press Release] Underhill Bike Boulevard to move forward after nearly six month delay

February 28, 2024

Advocates push for more support for similar public space initiatives — noting the City has reduced resources available to Open Street organizers

BROOKLYN — The Department of Transportation announced earlier today that the Underhill Avenue Bike Boulevard will move forward as originally planned. This follows a nearly six month delay at the order of Mayor Adams who paused the project in September claiming more community outreach was needed before moving forward, despite two prior years of outreach conducted by DOT.

The Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council (PHNDC), which advocated for completion of the stalled project since the pause was announced, expressed relief at the news and called for more support from City Hall in public space revisioning in Prospect Heights and around the city.

“Public space revisionings like the Underhill Avenue Bike Boulevard contribute to creating safe, sustainable and equitable public spaces, and we’re relieved that Mayor Adams plans to complete these improvements instead of rolling them back,” said Gib Veconi, Chair of PHNDC. “Pausing this street safety initiative that was nearly complete has had a chilling effect on DOT’s introducing similar projects across the city, so we hope that these kinds of extraordinary City Hall interventions are now over. The administration must fully commit to street safety, including providing additional resources and funding to the Open Street program, which sparked the process for installation of many bike boulevards across the City.”

PHNDC operates the Vanderbilt Avenue Open Street and the Underhill Plaza in Prospect Heights. The Underhill Avenue Bike Boulevard began as an Open Street operated by PHNDC in 2020, and prior to then Underhill Avenue had a history of crashes. NYPD crash data shows a significant reduction in crashes following the Open Street designation — benefits that will finally be permanent with the completion of the bike boulevard.


Open Streets provide many other benefits, including: 

  • Increasing the amount of public open space in neighborhoods across the City
  • Encouraging physical exercise
  • Reducing car trips
  • Offering cultural programming to the public at no cost
  • Providing economic benefits to local businesses
  • Creating jobs 

Despite these benefits, funding for Open Streets has been reduced this year as federal funds earmarked from the American Recovery Plan Act ran out. Neither the City nor any other municipal body has stepped in to replace the lost funding.

“When the facts are considered, it’s clear that Open Streets make streets safer and neighborhoods more vital,” added Veconi. “The administration should aggressively continue to redefine how public space is seen and used — including expanding and better resourcing the Open Streets program.”

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