Combating trucks we were promised would not be on Columbia Street

In the Press

Combating trucks we were promised would not be on Columbia Street

Photo by Adam Armstrong
Erin Durkin
New York Daily News
05/27/2010

There's a beer battle brewing in Red Hook.Beer distributor Phoenix Beverages is driving its trucks down Columbia St. to move cargo between waterfront piers - and neighborhood residents are hop-ping mad.Residents say the trucks tie up traffic on the narrow residential stretch, spew fumes, and present a safety hazard.They say they've counted as many as eight trucks barreling down Columbia St. in a 20-minute period."The street's narrow and not at all suited for truck traffic," said Councilman Brad Lander (D-Red Hook). "Truck traffic is going to lead to accidents with cars. It runs the risk of accidents with pedestrians."City officials promised before Phoenix moved onto the Red Hook waterfront last year that the company's container trucks would use roads inside the port instead of neighborhood streets. But they said that pledge didn't apply to the smaller delivery trucks now flooding Columbia St."We're working ... to find a solution for lighter delivery trucks that would avoid more residential blocks," said city Economic Development Corp. spokesman David Lombino.Columbia Waterfront Neighborhood Association President Norman Cox charged the city is being disingenuous."We made it crystal-clear to them that we didn't want trucks routed down Columbia St. ... It's a slap in the face to be told we wouldn't have the traffic, and now we have it," Cox said.Phoenix Vice President of Operations Greg Brayman said he'd avoid Columbia St. if he could."There's really no other way to get from point A to point B," he said, adding that finding an alternate route might require changing Van Brunt St. from one- to two-way traffic.Brayman said the firm has brought benefits, not just headaches, to the neighborhood - hiring 40 Brooklynites since the beginning of the year - and is working to convert its truck fleet to natural gas.Lander said he's glad Phoenix moved to the area, but said the added truck traffic was a nuisance that took the neighborhood by surprise."We do actually want a working waterfront, but [it has to] coexist with its neighbors," he said.Chris Barker, 28, who lives at Columbia and President Sts., said Phoenix should move quickly to get the trucks off the road, adding: "It's a congestion issue, it's a safety issue, it's an environmental issue."

Follow Me on Social Media