More than a year after taking suggestions from the community about the future of West Street, the Department of Transportation (DOT) and Department of Design and Construction (DDC) are set to unveil their preliminary plans for the Greenpoint waterfront route. The presentation will take place at the November 14th Community Board 1 meeting.
The project, a part of the Brooklyn Greenway, will convert West, between Eagle and Quay Streets, into a one-way street. A two way bike lane, similar to the one on Kent Avenue is to be installed, separated from vehicular traffic by a planted buffer, and currently above-ground utilities will be moved underground. It is not yet clear whether any parking spaces will remain on West.
Cyclists, joggers and pedestrians are expected to cheer the plan, but not everyone in the community is as enthusiastic. Many of the businesses along West feel their concerns over the project’s possible effects were ignored during initial meetings. Among their worries are the loss of around 300 parking spots and the potential impact from West being closed to allow for the digging of holes long and deep enough to move the utilities underground. Even several Franklin Street businesses have raised concerns about increased truck traffic once construction gets underway.
Eric Hall, owner of Red Star Bar, on the corner of Greenpoint Avenue and West Street said he thinks the end result will be positive, but expressed concern that DOT and DDC weren’t paying attention to his neighbors. “They’re coming in and saying ‘This is the plan.’ This is what we’re doing. Deal with it.” Like many West Street business owners, Hall believes the City is focusing on future condo owners along the corridor at the expense of the businesses that currently inhabit the space.
CB 1 Transportation Chair, Will Florentino, thinks people need to withhold judgment until they see the presentation. “The people who will be impacted by this plan need to come to the meeting and comment on the presentation,” he said. “There is always an opportunity for comment or to amend. They give weight to Community Board feedback.”
The CB 1 meeting at which the presentation will take place will be held on Wednesday, November 14th at 6:30PM at the Swinging 60’s Senior Citizen Center, 211 Ainslie Street.