Columbia Waterfront Update

Columbia Waterfront Update

Dear Columbia Waterfront Neighbors:

I wanted to share with you some quick updates on a few neighborhood issues that affect the area along the Columbia Street Waterfront:

Safer pedestrian access to Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 6
I hope that by now many of you have had the chance to take advantage of the newly opened Pier 6 section of Brooklyn Bridge Park. I have been contacted by a number of you about designing safer pedestrian routes from Cobble Hill to Pier 6, to enable pedestrians (many with kids, to get to the great new playground) to navigate the trip down either Columbia or Atlantic, across the BQE entrance ramps, across their Pier 7 truck gate.

In response to your concerns, we reached out to the NYC Department of Transportation. They are aware of the problem and working to design solutions.  They indicated they would have some designs to show us in the next two weeks.  We will keep you posted on this.

Phoenix Beverage trucks: a temporary solution

I have heard from many of you about the nuisance caused by the Phoenix beverage delivery trucks that that have been rumbling down Columbia Street in great numbers over the past few weeks.

On Friday, local elected officials (Senator Squadron, Congressman Nadler's office, Congresswoman Velazquez' office, Assemblywoman Millman's office and I) held a meeting with EDC, the Port Authority, Phoenix Beverage, and other stakeholders to discuss the delivery trucks. 

We learned, to our displeasure, that while EDC has committed that Phoenix trucks would be staying internal to the Port (and would not run on local streets), the EDC and Phoenix feel that their commitment only applied to overweight/container trucks and that they always knew that delivery trucks would run on local streets (with Van Brunt - Columbia as the truck route).  The other local electeds and I were extremely unhappy with this explanation, and are pushing EDC and Phoenix to make alternative plans that get this high volume of trucks off Columbia Street, where we believe they pose a very real danger to pedestrians and local traffic.

A temporary solution:  We are pleased to report that at Friday's meeting a temporary solution was announced:  Starting next Monday, June 21st, and until the reconstruction of Van Brunt Street (the dedicated truck route, which is currently under construction) is complete, Phoenix and the Teamsters have agreed to drive the empty delivery trucks on the BQE (entering at Hamilton Avenue, exiting at Atlantic Avenue). This will obviously add substantial time to their trips, but it will get them off the local streets.

Longer-term solution still needed:  Phoenix and EDC only committed to the BQE route until the reconstruction of Van Brunt Street is complete -- which will reportedly take about another 6 months.  At the meeting, we pushed for a permanent solution, and discussed a number of potential alternatives.  EDC is going to take a look at options, and we will have another meeting this summer, to work toward a long-term answer to the problem.

As always, if you have questions or concerns about any of these issues, please feel free to contact my office at 718 499 1090. And I hope to see many of you at the Green Ports hearing on Thursday.