City Councilman Carlos Menchaca (D-Red Hook, Sunset Park) yesterday rolled out several proposed transportation upgrades in front of the Red Hook NYC Ferry stop, but backed away from supporting Mayor Bill de Blasio‘s proposed Brooklyn Queens Connector (BQX).
The councilman, who is currently up for re-election, laid out his agenda for the next four years with several strategies to put Red Hook on the transit map and improve conditions for transit riders, cyclists, and pedestrians in Sunset Park.
“Right now, if the vote came today, I would not support [the BQX]. The burden of proof his on the Mayor’s team to show us the community because this was not a community driven idea. He has to show us that this project isn’t going to be detrimental to the community. The BQX is predicated on having a successfully gentrified neighborhood,” said Menchaca.
According to the plan, the BQX will start in Sunset Park and will run through Gowanus, Red Hook, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn Heights, Downtown Brooklyn, DUMBO, Vinegar Hill, The Navy Yard, Williamsburg, Greenpoint before heading to Long Island City and ending in Astoria. The 16-mile route along the East River waterfront corridor is planned to run 24-hours-a-day with five-minute intervals at peak hours with stops a half-mile apart.
Menchaca said that Red Hook and Sunset Park have the capabilities to make improvements without the need of expensive new transit lines. The BQX is expected to cost $2.5 billion without integration with the current mass transit system, a flaw many opponents feel needs re-thinking.
“From developing a long-needed one-seat ride from Red Hook to Manhattan, to improving access to our wonderful new ferry dock by bike and bus, enhancing our street-scape along 3rd Avenue to connect residents to a revitalized waterfront, there are ways to build on our past successes without spending billions of dollars on new subways or tunnels. I’m ready to get to work on these projects immediately and will make it a priority if re-elected to see them to completion,” added Menchaca.
Menchaca’s proposed improvements include: tearing down a chain link fence at Atlantic Basin Terminal to improve access to the ferry, extending Pioneer Street to the ferry dock with bike lanes and full sidewalks, installing a bus stop along B61 at the ferry dock, placing a Citi Bike docking station at the ferry stop, implementing a bus study to look into how one-seat rides could be established either via an existing bus line or Select Bus Service route, as well as other improvements like resiliency measures and more frequent R train service.
Red Hook and Sunset Park were recently included in the NYC Ferry and have been upgraded with Citi Bike and a newly redesigned 4th Avenue corridor with protected bike lanes in the last couple of years since Menchaca took office in 2013.
The Department of Transportation (DOT) did not reply back to a request for comment regarding a new bus line in time for posting of this story.
“We’ve already done a lot to improve transportation in the long-disconnected Red Hook and under-served Sunset Park communities, but I’m glad to say there is more to come. This vision puts forward common-sense solutions we can deliver in the near term to improve the lives of residents,” said Menchaca