Over the last decade, the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative has been working to create a continuous 14-mile long bike path along the Brooklyn waterfront. To link Williamsburg with Downtown Brooklyn and the Brooklyn Bridge Park, the Greenway proposed making over two streets in Vinegar Hill, and the residents of the tiny ten-block enclave are less than thrilled. The proposed bike paths would follow three blocks on Water and Plymouth Streets. To create the paths, the Initiative would rip out the existing cobblestones and replace them with a smoother, more bike-friendly road top made of, gasp!, uniform machine-made stones.
Residents are not please with the idea of dozens more cyclists zipping through their quiet neighborhood, but it's this last part, the removal of the historic Belgian Block stones, that irks them the most. Vinegar Hill residents started two petitions to stop the Greenway's plans for their neighborhood.
One demands the Greenway bypass Vinegar Hill, and the other specifically adresses the historic streets:
I oppose the use of machine-made or machine-altered cobblestones of any kind or for any purpose in Vinegar Hill because they are incompatible with the designated historic character of our landmarked neighborhood, of which our Belgian blocks are a vital and irreplaceable component. I also oppose the addition of a bike lane on Water Street made from anything but our own historic Belgian Blocks.The petition to save the Belgian Blocks currently has more signatures than the one to stop the bike lane.
· Brooklyn Greenway implementation plan [PDF]
· Brooklyn Greenway Initiative [official]
· Preserve Original Belgian Block Streets in Vinegar Hill [official petition]
· Bypass Vinegar Hill When Implementing the Brooklyn Greenway [official petition]