Building the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway
Since 2004, Brooklyn Greenway Initiative (BGI), along with our technical planning partner Regional Plan Association (RPA), has been the catalyst for selecting the route, designing and implementing the 14-mile Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway.
From 2004-2007, BGI and RPA hosted community workshops to develop a Conceptual Plan for the greenway. From 2009-11 BGI and RPA worked directly with NYC DOT to host additional community workshops to get input and feedback for the Implementation Plan.
From Community Vision to Implementation
On June 21, 2012, NYC DOT announced its full Implementation Plan for the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway. Under this plan, DOT will divide the route into 23 individual segments, or capital projects, each of which will be designed and built by the City as funding is secured.
Two of these segments – West Street in Greenpoint and Flushing Avenue near the Brooklyn Navy Yard – are already underway as NYC capital projects. BGI is actively seeking funding to move additional segments toward implementation.
Maintaining The Greenway's Future
In 2015, BGI launched the country’s first municipal Adopt-a-Greenway program. Several sections of the route have now been adopted and BGI maintains these sites in partnership with non-profit community service providers, corporate volunteer programs, and local residents.
In 2008, BGI and RPA developed a preliminary Plan for Stewardship and Maintenance, which addressed the various long-term requirements of the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway. Since no single city agency is responsible for maintaining the route, BGI is committed to filling these gaps.
In 2012, NYC DOT finalized its Implementation Plan for the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway, but now BGI must build the capacity to maintain the Greenway by raising tens of millions of dollars in additional capital funding from Federal, State and City sources.
BGI studied numerous maintenance revenue models and, in 2013, worked with NYC DOT to create a new city-wide Adopt-a-Greenway program.
As new Greenway segments are implemented, BGI will adopt each of them and secure co-sponsors to fund ongoing maintenance.
BGI also maintains three sites through New York State’s Adopt-a-Highway program.
How You Can Help
Green Spaces Along the Greenway
Brooklyn Greenway Initiative is working on the creation of new green spaces adjacent to the Greenway, including the Naval Cemetery Landscape and Columbia Waterfront Park.
Columbia Waterfront Park is a planned green space that will provide a new amenity to the Columbia Street waterfront. The park will be developed on a roughly two-acre property that extends from Kane Street to Degraw Street on the west side of Columbia Street. The first phase of the park commenced in Spring 2014 when BGI volunteers completed a native grass planting. In 2015 BGI volunteers completed further plantings and built a fence, and DOT installed bike racks and benches.
In August 2015, Columbia Waterfront Park received $500,000 in funding from Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, out of nearly $12 million allocated to parks across Brooklyn.
In December 2015, NYS Department of State awarded $1.2 million in funding for Columbia Waterfront Park. BGI envisages this park’s landscape to serve as the northern end of the flood barrier system; Superstorm Sandy’s storm surge flooding extended up Degraw Street between Van Brunt Street and Columbia Street, as does the current one percent risk (100-year) floodplain.
The Naval Cemetery Landscape is a 1.7 acre site developed in partnership with the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation. The design is for a landscape of native plants beneficial to pollinators such as bees, moths and butterflies. Ground breaking took place in 2015 and the site opened in 2016.
BGI seeks opportunities to create additional open spaces along the greenway route in order to provide opportunities for envelopment in nature and relief from the built environment. BGI’s open space development emphasizes the restoration of native plant communities that provide habitat and food sources for pollinators and birds.
Visioning and Planning the Greenway
Working with community groups, public agencies, elected officials and technical partners, Brooklyn Greenway Initiative (BGI) and Regional Plan Association produced a comprehensive set of planning documents which have guided the development of the greenway over the past decade. Please contact us if you have questions or would like additional information about any of the planning processes.
- Conceptual Plans
- Plan for Red Hook to the Navy Yard (Community Boards 2 & 6)
- Plan for Greenpoint & Williamsburg (Community Board 1)
- Plan for Sunset Park
- Design Principles
- Stewardship Plan
- Green Spaces
- Greenpoint/Williamsburg Open Space Plan
- Briefing Book: Columbia Street Waterfront Park
- Park Node Site Analysis: Brooklyn Navy Yard Hospital Memorial Site
- Briefing Book: Columbia Street Connector
- Naval Hospital Cemetery Site presentation (November 2011)