July 19, 2013
Two new segments of the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway are being built, connecting from the well-used Columbia Street segment and extending the greenway deep into Red Hook:
The Van Brunt Street Class 1 segment is now being constructed. The curb that will separate the bikeway from the vehicular traffic can be seen in the photo at the right. The bikeway will be on the right side of the curb. Getting this section built has been a major 10-year struggle.
Back in 2001 when the Columbia/Van Brunt Street reconstruction was being planned, our request to continue the Columbia Street configuration on Van Brunt Street was flatly refused. The project went forward with design for a wider road, six foot western sidewalk and bike lanes on either side in the street. Fortunately, the Van Brunt section was delayed by environmental issues and contract challenges.
Eighteen months ago, BGI decided to take another shot at getting the right greenway treatment installed as the Van Brunt section began moving forward again. It was singularly BGI’s initiative to petition the Department of Design & Construction (DDC) for a change order. Getting a change order on an already troublesome contract was extremely distasteful to DDC and initially the response was no.
However, DDC’s leadership has always been forward-looking and pragmatic and eventually agreed that if the project was completed without the change, the likelihood of the greenway being completed later was very low and the cost would be much higher. With strong support from Council Member Brad Lander, Borough President Marty Markowitz and Senator Daniel Squadron, along with a funding commitment from CM Brad Lander, the change order was made.
Now that the underground work has been completed, the pace of the project has accelerated, with curbing and roadway base installation ongoing. We are delighted to see the realization of our 10-year effort coming to fruition.
The Red Hook (Atlantic Basin) Connector will extend the greenway from Van Brunt and Summit Streets to Valentino Park. See rendering here. This work will be implemented by DOT itself. In preliminary meetings with DOT, CB6 and others, there was concern that the route did not follow our priority alignment across the uplands of Pier 11.
Despite great effort by DOT, NYC Economic Development Corporation and the Port Authority have not been willing to place the route there along the west edge of the Conover Street extension roadway of the pier. So we are glad to see DOT implement what it can on its own property and get the route on the map, so we can come back and fight another day for the ideal alignment. The pending work is not a capital project, leaving flexibility for future changes. Our philosophy has always been to get people using the route. Over time they will help us demand its betterment.
The new route will enter Pier 11, though just barely, between Verona and Pioneer Streets. Along this stretch BGI is working with DOT to implement trees in planters to enhance the aesthetics. DOT is supplying planters and soil and BGI will provide trees and maintenance during their establishment. The route will follow Imlay Street and shift over to Ferris Street south of Pier 11. Work on the Red Hook Connector has begun and is expected to be completed by year-end.