The Brooklyn Waterfront
Greenway: Growing out of the Shadow of the BQE
Read the latest news
about this issue.
The long neglected working
waterfront of Red Hook is an ideal bicycle and pedestrian destination and
route. The Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway Task Force, led by Brian McCormick, is
spearheading the push for a 4.7-mile off-street path from Brooklyn Bridge Park
to the Beard Street Piers.
The main obstacle in its way is the Department of Transportation's (DOT) plan
to use the land in question for street widening to make room for an expanded
truck route. Because the Greenway would require nearly all of the available
sidewalk space to the west of Columbia Street and all of the sidewalk to the
west of Van Brunt Street, any widening of these streets will make a continuous
waterfront greenway impossible. Though it does not have data to support its
claim, the DOT believes that the new truck route is necessary to accommodate
long trucks and to generally promote safety. The Greenway Task Force, with
T.A.'s support, is determined to help revive Red Hook with greenery - not
- 1950s: Robert Moses
constructs the Gowanus and Brooklyn Queens Expressway. These eyesores
sever the Columbia Street Waterfront District, (just north of Red Hook)
from the rest of Brooklyn and trigger a process of neighborhood decline.
- 1993: the NYC Department
of City Planning identifies the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway as a priority
- 1998: City Planning
releases a Preliminary Design and Summary Report for the Greenway. The
plan instructs the DOT to integrate the Greenway into a delayed plan to
reconstruct Columbia Street between Atlantic and Hamilton Avenues.
Specifically, it calls for new water and sewer work along the Greenway
- 1998: Enthusiastic
community members, including T.A. members, form the Brooklyn Waterfront
Greenway Task Force to promote the Greenway.
- 2000: The DOT presents its
reconstruction plans before Community Board 6. Though the plans include a
bike path, they also call for four new lanes on Columbia Street for a
truck diverter and a significant widening of Van Brunt Street. Outraged
residents demand that a new taskforce comprised of Community Board
members, DOT and Greenway advocates revisit the plans.
- 2001: The Greenway Task
Force calls for the re-instatement of the old City Planning design that
includes an off-street greenway. The DOT, unable to cite any real
evidence, still insists that the truck diverter and other street widening
are necessary for safety reasons.
- 2001: Members of the Task
Force secure land from the Port Authority. This will allow the
construction of part of the Greenway even if the DOT proceeds with street
- 2001: The DOT abandons
plans for the truck diverter.
- 2001: The DOT appears
before Community Board 6 again. Its representatives refuse to acknowledge
the Greenway. Instead, the DOT pushes for an on-street bike lane on the
Van Brunt Street truck route.
To date, the DOT has ignored
repeated requests by the Greenway Task Force and the Community Board to reopen
the plans for the Van Brunt Street leg of the Greenway and has yet to provide
copies of any finalized plans. T.A. joins the Task Force's call for the
creation of an off-street continuous multi-use greenway.
Join the Fight
The Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway Task Force urges newly elected Brooklyn
Borough President Marty Markowitz, Councilmember Angel Rodriguez, newly
elected Councilmember Bill De Blasio, State Assemblywoman Joan Millman, State
Senator Martin Connor and U.S. Representative Nydia Velazquez to support the
Greenway. Please contact these officials to encourage their support.
For updates, visit the Task
Force on the web, www.treebranch.com/bwgtf.