A section of Willoughby Street and Pearl Street now offers a new and unique redesign where cyclists, pedestrians and vehicles together share one space. The new Downtown Brooklyn Shared Street builds off the success of other DOT and Downtown Brooklyn Partnership public space collaborations, including the Willoughby Walks series.

In conjunction with the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, the New York City Department of Transportation today announced Brooklyn’s first Shared Street, where three city streets were uniquely redesigned to provide a safe space for all roadway users. Cyclist, pedestrians, and vehicles will now safely co-exist on this shared street, which runs along Willoughby Street from Pearl Street to Lawrence Street and on Pearl Street from Fulton Ave to Willoughby Street. Motorists are encouraged to drive no more than 5 mph.

“We are so excited to today debut Brooklyn’s first shared street along Willoughby Street,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “With the vibrant Fulton Street Mall only steps away, this shared street slows down vehicle traffic and gives priority to cyclists and pedestrians, allowing everyone to relax and enjoy the culture of this burgeoning commercial and residential community. Having already done such a marvelous job of managing the popular Willoughby pedestrian plaza across Jay Street, special thanks go to the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership for spearheading this newest project— that helps us re-imagine public space in Downtown Brooklyn.”

“We are thrilled that Downtown Brooklyn is home to the first ‘Shared Street’ in our borough. Thanks go to NYC DOT for working with us to test the viability of this program with our Willoughby Walks initiative, and to Brooklyn Community Board 2 and local partners for their support in achieving this goal. By rethinking and redesigning the streetscape to better serve the range of uses, we are able to improve the quality of life for our community, while enhancing the safety and mobility in Downtown Brooklyn. We look forward to expanding the program!” said Regina Myer, President of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership.

Adjacent to the famous Fulton Mall, this is the first site in Brooklyn to be transformed into to a full time “Shared Street” configuration. The shared street is modeled on what has already proven safe and successful in many cities including Seattle, Pittsburgh, Melbourne, and Barcelona. DOT has implemented full-time Shared Streets in other parts of the city, including the Flatiron District, Union Square, and East Midtown.

Shared Streets are a new and sustainable use of limited urban space that balance the needs of all road users while still providing for vehicular access, parking and deliveries. DOT has worked closely with local partners including the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, Brooklyn Community Board 2, New York University, and local stakeholders to refine its proposal. In April, Community Board 2 voted in favor on the proposal and DOT began implementation in August. Safety improvements to these streets included:

  • Adding curb extensions on Pearl and Willoughby Streets
  • Adding bollards, planters, street furniture, new signage and bicycle corrals
  • Traffic calming measures with a 5MPH vehicle speed limit.
  • Shortening pedestrian crossings on Pearl and Willoughby Streets

“As one of the city’s leading advocates for street safety, I have always pushed for greater street-space allocated to pedestrians and cyclists. The new Shared Street on Willoughby will make the surrounding area healthier, greener, and more livable for all those who live and work in Downtown Brooklyn. I thank DOT and the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership for their partnership on this critical initiative,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams.

“I’m excited to see this critical partnership between NYC DOT, Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, Brooklyn Community Board 2 and local stakeholders,” said Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY). “Brooklyn’s first shared street will introduce the borough to a new way of using the road, while ensuring cyclists, motorists and pedestrians alike can safely co-exist on our Brooklyn streets.”

Community Board 2 Chairperson Lenny Singletary congratulated the Department of Transportation and the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership on the swift implementation. “CB2 voted overwhelmingly in favor of the Downtown Brooklyn Shared Streets in May, and downtown workers, residents and shoppers have already been enjoying the calmer streets and seating areas for a couple of weeks.”

“It makes sense to bring this modern street landscape to Downtown Brooklyn, which has experienced exponential growth in the last decade, said Randy Peers, President and CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce. “Adapting our streets for all users promotes business and community and we are happy to be here today to support our great partners, the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, as they continue to enhance the downtown area.”

“We could not be happier that the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership and NYC DOT have taken this critical step to making an important Brooklyn’s thoroughfares a showcase for shared use,” said Jelena Kovačević, Dean at NYU Tandon School of Engineering and Co-Chair of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership. “A safer, pedestrian friendly Brooklyn makes it that much easier for us to continue our own research into solutions to tomorrow’s issues and bring the next generation of technology leaders to the Brooklyn Tech Triangle, ensuring that Brooklyn remains the innovation capital of New York.”

“This shared street represents an important step toward asserting that New York City streets belong to people, not to cars. We’re pleased to see this project come to fruition and look forward to many more like it in the future,” said Marco Conner, Deputy Director of Transportation Alternatives.

“The opening of the Willoughby Shared Street is a welcome step in Downtown Brooklyn’s continued transformation into a walkable, bikeable, people-friendly neighborhood,” said Eric McClure, Executive Director of Streets PAC. “Together with the recent redesign of Jay Street, the Willoughby Shared Street is a clear indication that NYCDOT and the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership have fully embraced the importance of car-free and car-light spaces.”