Monday, December 14, 2009

History of the Columbia Waterfront Neighborhood: Pratt Historic Preservation graduate students will present their research

Thursday, December 17th, 2009 10am, Clinton Hill, Brooklyn

The presentation will be made in Room 406 of Higgins Hall North, located at the corner of St. James Place and Lafayette Avenue in Clinton Hill (near, but not on, the main Pratt campus). The building houses the School of Architecture, which includes the planning & preservation programs.

The nearest train is the G, the Clinton-Washington stop. Coming from Carroll Gardens you want to be in the front of the train in order to use the Washington Avenue exit. When leaving the subway system, go through the turnstiles and turn RIGHT to go up the stairs and outside. This stairway will put you on Lafayette Avenue, heading in precisely the right direction. Walk one block to St. James Place. Higgins Hall is the large Victorian corner building complex across St. James, and the entrance is in a modern "hyphen" between the two historic buildings. From the guard desk, turn left to go to the North wing; the elevator will be right in front of you. Once on the 4th floor, turn right and go through the double doors to 406.

Monday, December 7, 2009

General Meeting tonight

Just a quick reminder that CoWNA is holding it's last General Meeting of the year tonight (Monday 12/7).
Agenda:
1. Election of officers
2. BQE Enhancement Study
3. Meet Brad Lander, the newly elected City Council member for our district

Place: Jalopy, 315 Columbia Street (between Woodhull and Hamilton)
Time: 7 PM

We look forward to seeing you!


Friday, December 4, 2009

Town Hall Meeting about the F Train

This past summer, State Senator Squadron called on the MTA to conduct a full line review of the F Train in response to the many constituent complaints he received regarding ongoing service problems. In October, the MTA released the findings from this review in a comprehensive report (which you can find on Senator Squadron's website at: www.squadron.nysenate.gov).

To make this report even more accessible to the public, Senator Daniel Squadron and Community Boards 2 & 6 invite you to attend a Town Hall Meeting about the F train. MTA representatives will discuss the recent report about F train performance, and discuss proposals for improving service.

F Train Town Hall
Hosted by State Senator Daniel Squadron

WHEN: Thursday, December 10,6:30 pm
WHERE: PS 58 Auditorium,330 Smith Street, Brooklyn NY(Corner of Smith and Carroll streets, at Carroll Street stop on the F line)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

BQE Enhancement Survey

The NYC Economic Development Corporation will soon announce the selection of a consultant to perform the Brooklyn Queens Expressway enhancement study. In order to prepare for participation in the public meetings that will be conducted during the study, we would like to gather opinion from Columbia Waterfront residents. Having a sense of the neighborhood's feelings about potential alterations to the BQE will enable us to effectively represent the community for the study. You can access the study here: http://cowna.surveyconsole.com

There are 9 questions, the study is anonymous and it should take only a few minutes to complete. We plan on incorporating the results of this survey into the discussion at our upcoming General Meeting on December 7th.

Thank you for your input

Report From Stakeholder Advisory Committee Meeting BQE Rehabilitation Project

A Stakeholder Advisory Committee meeting was held last night for the proposed rehabilitation project for the BQE cantilevers. The purpose of the meeting was to review comments on the Draft Scoping Document (DSD) and the proposed alternatives screening criteria. At this point in the process, the goal is to produce a final scoping document that sets forth the project needs and purpose, identifies the project limits, the study area limits, identifies alternatives, and outlines the environment impact analysis.

Representatives from NYSDOT and the consulting firm Henningson, Durham & Richardson reviewed comments received from local community groups, residents and concerned agencies. These comments have been collected and tabulated and are available from the project website (see below). Consultants presented the "Alternatives Analysis Process, Level 1 Screening Criteria" which is a critical process used to evaluate proposed alternatives for the project. Much discussion ensued from this presentation and it was clear that further development of the criteria is essential.

The traffic consultant presented an updated traffic study which focused on accident frequency on the BQE in the project area and correlated accident rates to the 'substandard' features of the roadway.

For the Waterfront Community, the important issues are potential impact of diverted traffic, construction staging, and reconstruction of the on/off ramps at Atlantic Avenue. Please visit the project website which includes a description of the project and various documents such as the draft DSD which can be downloaded.

Project Website: www.nysdot.gov/bqedowntownbrooklyn

Monday, November 16, 2009

Nominations for CoWNA Officers

The following nominations have been received. If you would like to submit additional nominations, please see the information at the bottom of this post.

President - Norman Cox
Norman Cox is currently Chair of the Land Use Committee for the Columbia Waterfront Neighborhood Association. He led the committee in the effort to include our neighborhood with the rezoning of Carroll Gardens and has represented CoWNA at meetings of the South Brooklyn Neighborhood Alliance. Past volunteer work includes service on the Board of Directors of the Washington Market Park in lower Manhattan and the Board of Directors of the Lower East Side Printshop.

Norman lives on Columbia Street with his wife, Joyce Sangirardi, and he is a partner in an architectural firm that recently relocated to a renovated garage on Union Street.

Vice President - Bradley Kerr

I am running because I am proud to call the Columbia Waterfront my home and I want to help make our neighborhood a great place to live. My wife and I moved here nearly 10 years ago, after she and her family opened a neighborhood small business, Union Max. I have been an active member of CoWNA’s Public Services Committee. Over the past year, I helped craft the association’s plan for waterfront development, advocated for our vision at the community board and helped bring attention to waterfront issues in the recent city council race. If elected, I will work hard for CoWNA and continue to push for a green waterfront that truly benefits our neighborhood and city.

Recording Secretary - Mina Roustayi
Mina Roustayi, Ph.D., has lived in this neighborhood for a decade, since the turn of the millennium. She is a founding member of CoWNA and has served on the Executive Committee since CoWNA was formed. Mina is a relentless advocate for our neighborhood's quality of life, keeping the "fix the ditch" project alive, despite much skepticism. In addition, she is working on monitoring the air, land, and water quality of our neighborhood. She would like to see a world class and attractive Columbia waterfront as a destination, where people come for recreation, shopping, eating, relaxation, education, and enjoying the sunset against a backdrop of Manhattan skyline and the Statue of Liberty. Mina hopes that future development of our waterfront, once the lease for American Stevedoring ends, will be cohesive and carefully planned with low architecture, landscaping, and much public access to the water.

Treasurer - Chris Barker
Chris Barker is a co-founder and co-writer of The Word On Columbia St. blog, which has been in existence for the past year and a half. Through the blog, he and his wife Jessie work to keep neighborhood residents informed about news, issues, and events, as well as promote the neighborhood to those who do not live here. The blog has also co- sponsored a number of events at local businesses, gardens, and parks.

Chris is also highly involved in the Urban Meadow Community Garden and Mother Cabrini Playground, where he helps to organize events, raise funds, recruit members, and in the case of the Meadow, maintain the site. Outside of his volunteer work in the community, Chris works as the Contracts and Grants Coordinator at the NYU Metropolitan Center for Urban Education, a University based Center that provides services to schools and school districts, and conducts research on education related topics. He is also currently pursuing a Masters in Urban Planning at the NYU Wagner School of Public Service, with a focus on Affordable Housing and Economic Development. He lives on President St. with his wife, Jessie, and two sons, Lucas and Alexandre.


Corresponding Secretary - Brian McCormick
Brian McCormick has resided in Brooklyn since 1995, moving to Luquer Street in Carroll Gardens. In 1997, Mr. McCormick moved to 95 Kane Street in the Columbia Waterfront District. Prior to moving to New York from Boston in 1990, Mr. McCormick served on the Boards of the Worcester Square Neighborhood Association, Chaired the Worcester Square Park Committee- planning the restoration (now complete) of an1851 Victorian pocket park in the South End of Boston. He also served on the Board of the South End Historical Society. The South End is the largest Victorian brick rowhouse district in the United States.

Mr.McCormick is a co-founder and currently serves on the Board of the Gowanus Dredger’s Canoe Club. In 1998, he co-founded and served as the Chair of the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway Taskforce. Mr. McCormick is currently Director of Finance and Administration for the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative, Inc. - a 501 (c) 3 non-profit planning the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway, a 14-mile waterfront greenway from Greenpoint to Bay Ridge. He also serves on the Board of the Columbia Waterfront Neighborhood Association as it's Corresponding Secretary and is an active member of the Public Services Committee.

Elections will be held at CoWNA's General Meeting on December 7th at 7 PM at Jalopy, 315 Columbia Street.

If anyone else is interested in submitting a nomination please email info@cowna.org

Sunday, November 8, 2009

General Meeting postponed

CoWNA's General Meeting, which was originally scheduled for Monday November 9th, has been rescheduled for Monday December 7th. We apologize for the inconvenience. The main agenda item is the election of officers for the 2010 term. The recent withdrawal of nominations of two candidates, due to the fact that they are moving out of the neighborhood, has left us with more positions than candidates and CoWNA's Executive Committee decided to postpone the meeting, so more potential candidates can submit their nominations.
Location and time remain unchanged: Jalopy, 315 Columbia Street, 7 PM

Thursday, October 29, 2009

City Council Votes 48-0 to Rezone Carroll Gardens and Columbia Waterfront

The City Council unanimously approved the rezoning of Carroll Gardens and parts of the Columbia Waterfront on Wednesday, limiting the height and scope of future developments. All of us at CoWNA worked hard toward this goal, but I want to particularly thank all the members of our Landuse Committee, and particularly Committee chair Norman Cox, for all their efforts. Also a special thank you to John Hatheway, Glen Kelly and Maria Pagano from the Carroll Gardens Neighborhood Association for spearheading this effort and to Council Member Bill de Blasio for sponsoring the bill.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

B61 Split in January 2010

The MTA has announced that starting in January 2010, the B61 will be going from the IKEA Terminal to the intersection of Smith Street and Livingston Street. The new B62 bus will be going from Boerum Place and Livingston Street to Queens Plaza. The change will enable the buses on these lines to avoid congestion and improve timeliness. More information can be found at the MTA website:

http://www.mta.info/mta/news/releases/?en=090729-NYCT113

City Council Subcommittee Approves Carroll Gardens/Columbia Street Rezoning

City Council's Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises met Monday 10/26 and voted to approve the proposed rezoning proposal for Carroll Gardens and the Columbia Waterfront. This puts the application one step further along the path to full approval.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Rezoning Update

Our fight to downzone our neighborhood heads into it's next phase as the City Council’s Zoning Committee will take up the issue on Oct. 26 at 9:30 am at City Hall.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Next Public Meeting: Monday November 9th

At the general meeting of the Columbia Waterfront Neighborhood Association (CoWNA) on Monday November 9th, 7pm at Jalopy, CoWNA will be electing its Board for the 2010 term. If you would like to nominate yourself or others to serve on CoWNA's Board, please forward a brief bio of no more than two paragraphs, including why you/they are well suited to advance quality of life issues in the neighborhood. The nomination should be submitted to contact@cowna.org for public posting on CoWNA's website two weeks prior to the general meeting. Service on CoWNA's Board requires attendance at monthly Executive Committee meetings, interaction with neighbors and policy makers and above all a dedication to leading and achieving consensus on a broad range of issues that affect the quality of life for residents and businesses in the district.
Where: Jalopy, 315 Columbia Street, between Hamilton and Woodhull
When: Monday 11/9 7 PM

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Lead paint removal on BQE bridges

The green tanks-in-shacks on the BQE overpasses between Cobble Hill and the Columbia Waterfront have been noted by many neighbors on both sides of the BQE. The tanks are indeed hazardous waste containers for the lead-based paint that is removed by sandblasting and subsequent vacuuming. Work will be done at night, and it does generate some noise. Air quality is to be continually monitored. Nevertheless, there have been complaints about lingering clouds of dust. Please do call 311 to report dust clouds or any other potential hazardous effects of the work on the bridges, and do also leave a comment on the CoWNA website so that we can gauge the spread of any problems.

More details can be found at the Word on Columbia Street, Brownstoner, Lost City, The New York Times, and finally the Department of Transportation

http://wordoncolumbiastreet.blogspot.com/2009/10/lead-paint-removal-on-hicks-st-bridges.html

http://www.brownstoner.com/brownstoner/archives/2009/10/lead_paint_remo.php

http://lostnewyorkcity.blogspot.com/2009/10/are-bqe-bridge-cleaning-lead-shacks.html

http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/10/08/the-mystery-of-those-metal-units-over-the-bqe/

http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/downloads/pdf/bqebridges.pdf

Friday, October 2, 2009

City Planning Issues Approval for Rezoning

City Planning issued their approval of the Carroll Gardens/Columbia Street Rezoning on 23 September 2009. The report is available here:http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/pdf/cpc/090462.pdf.

A table showing the public review timeline is here: http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/html/carroll_columbia/carroll_columbia4.shtml.

Note that we are in the last phase of the process, the proposal will be taken up next by City Council for approval.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Suspended service on the F line during weekends

The F train service between Jay Street-Bourough Hall and Church Avenue will unfortunately be suspended from 12:01 am Saturdays through 5:00 am Mondays during the following weekends:

- October 10-12
- October 17-19
- October 24-26
- November 14-16

There will be shuttle buses provided to transport travelers from Jay Street-Borough Hall along the F train route. The service changes are due to the necessary rehabilitation of the Culver Viaduct (the bridge that carries Smith/9th Street and 4th Avenue stations).

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Worth looking into what the future might hold


Thanks to Pardon me for Asking:

http://pardonmeforasking.blogspot.com/2009/08/how-will-climate-change-effect-gowanus.html

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Fix The Ditch

One of the major issues the Landuse committee will be dealing with this fall is, what to do about the portion of the BQE that separates the Columbia Waterfront from Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens (aka The Ditch). As previously reported, Representative Nydia Velasquez has secured $300,000 for a study that will be administered by the EDC. There are many possibilities here: from simply fixing the concrete bed, to hanging planters and adding bridges to covering the whole thing up. We would like to know, what you think. Please leave your comments below. To get the discussion going, here are a few articles on the subject:

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Temporary closure of Baltic Street between Hicks and Columbia

Masonry Services intends to close Baltic Street between Hicks Street and Columbia Street for the use of a crane on Baltic Street.

This closure will take place on September 8, 9, 11, 14, 15, 17, and 18 between 7 AM and 6 PM. Flagmen will be posted to redirect traffic.

If you have any questions regarding this closure, please contact Masonry Services at (917) 578-0019.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Public Services Committee meetings on Tuesdays this fall

The first Public Services Committee meeting will be held at 7PM on Tuesday, September 8. The meeting will be held at the Postgraduate Center on Columbia Street. Subsequent meetings will be held on the second Tuesday of every month.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Trolley's on the Waterfront?

Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez has included $10 million for "design and construction of a light rail system along the Brooklyn waterfront from Red Hook to Downtown Brooklyn,..." in her request for funding for the Fiscal Year 2010 surface transportation bill. Mayor Bloomberg has also called for funding for a Red Hook streetcar system.
The Department of Transportation (DOT) has now begun a $259,000 feasibility analysis of placing streetcar lines in Red Hook, DUMBO and other waterfront areas, according to published reports.
Read the full story here

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Public Hearing on Columbia Waterfront Rezoning

Please attend tomorrows Dept of City Planning's public hearing regarding the rezoning of our neighborhood that CoWNA has fought so hard for.
Wednesday, August 19th 10:00 AM
Spector Hall, 22 Reade Street, New York, NY
click here for more info

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

More details on B61 bus route split

Received from Craig Hammerman, CB6 district manager:

Greetings!

NYC Transit is proposing to divide the current B61 route into two shorter routes, in order to provide more efficient and convenient bus service for their customers and our constituents. The current B61 route is a long 9.7 mile route which operates between Red Hook, Brooklyn and Queens Plaza, Queens. Splitting the B61 route in Downtown Brooklyn will create two routes, the B61 and B62. Both of these routes would operate with the same total level of service as the current B61 route, but their reliability would increase because of their shorter operating distances. The new southern route, the B61, will travel from the IKEA Terminal in Red Hook to Downtown Brooklyn. NYC Transit is proposing to implement these changes in January 2010.

Click here to download the full, official letter from NYC Transit, with a map of the new routes.

(Please note that those wishing to share their views of this proposal with the MTA Board will have an opportunity to testify on the morning of Monday, July 27, 2009. Details of the hearing are contained in the letter.)

Best, Craig

Craig R. Hammerman
District Manager
Brooklyn Community Board 6
250 Baltic Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201-6401

t. 718.643.3027
f. 718..624.8410
w. http://www.brooklyncb6.org/
e. districtmanager@BrooklynCB6.org

Serving the neighborhoods of Carroll Gardens/South Brooklyn, Cobble Hill, Columbia Street District, Gowanus, Park Slope and Red Hook

Monday, July 20, 2009

The effects of pollution on the development of children

A study just published in Pediatrics, the Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, has reached the conclusion that there is a link between maternal exposure to airborne emissions before giving birth and the IQ of the children at the age of five. The study measured prenatal airborne polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon exposure (PAH), that is pollutants typically found in the emissions from cars, trucks and other vehicles, in 249 mothers during the last stages of their pregnancies. Although the study was primarily conducted in low-income areas of northern Manhattan and the southern parts of the Bronx, it may seem reasonable to assume that similar pollutant levels may be encountered in or around our neighborhood. An abstract of the study can be found on the Pediatrics website: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Port Authority receives almost $11 million to launch clean air strategy at the ports of NY and NJ

The Port Authority recently received two grants from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency totaling $9.8 million and another $1.8 million grant from the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority to implement the first pieces of a Comprehensive Clean Air Strategy for the Port of New York and New Jersey.

A $7 million federal grant will help launch a $28 million program to replace pre-1994 trucks serving the port. The EPA grant money and an additional $21 million incentive fund from The Port Authority of NY & NJ will enable truck owners serving the port to replace their pre-1994 trucks with newer cleaner burning, less polluting vehicles.

About 16 percent of the trucks that frequently call at the port were built before 1994, and they contribute 33 percent of the fine Particulate Matter, 14 percent of the NOx and 10 percent of the Greenhouse Gas emissions each year. The program provides funding to replace an estimated 636 of these older trucks with newer vehicles, resulting in a reduction of approximately 118 tons of NOx, 14 tons of PM2.5, and 1,675 tons of Greenhouse Gases per year.

As mentioned previously, the Port Authority has also been given grants to provide ship-to-shore power connection at the Red Hook Cruise Terminal.

This is obviously good news for our neighborhood. However, the emissions from other vehicles, both land-based and maritime, remain a source of concern, especially if overall traffic volumes increase.

B61 bus route will be split in two

NYC Transit is planning on splitting the B61 into two shorter routes in order to achieve greater reliability along the route’s course. The B61 will operate between Red Hook and Downtown Brooklyn, and the new B62 route will operate between Downtown Brooklyn and Queens Plaza.
Implementation date is January 2010. This will be presenting this to the Transit Committee of the MTA on Monday, July 27 at 9:30 a.m. at 347 Madison Avenue, 5th floor conference room. Public comments can be made. Email publicservices [a t] cowna.org and your comments will be forwarded.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Car Vandalism

There has been an increase of cars being broken into on Union, Hicks and Columbia Street over the last two months. The 76th precinct is aware of the problem and will increase patrols around the neighborhood. Please try not to leave GPS, DVD players or similar items visible in your vehicle.

Realty Ethics

One of the real estate firms advertising and doing business in and around the neighborhood, Awaye Realty, has been engaged in some rather controversial business procedures. A homeowner on Adelphi Street found out that his for-sale-by-owner house was listed by Awaye Realty without his permission:

http://www.brownstoner.com/brownstoner/archives/2009/07/awaye_realty_bu.php

Land Use Committee Meeting 7/16/09

The Land Use Committee will meet on Thursday, 7/16/09 at 7:00p at Mazzat Restaurant.

Agenda:
  1. Carroll Gardens/Columbia Waterfront rezoning - recap of recent activity, upcoming public hearings.
  2. Phoenix Beverage.
  3. Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Please RSVP landuse@cowna.org.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Positive News Concerning 'Cold Ironing' at The Cruise Terminal

We received the following note from the office of Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez:

A bit of good news:

EPA Announcement: Stimulus Grants for Diesel Emissions Reduction

$2.85 million going to Port Authority to reduce cruise line emissions at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal (plus other projects). (View full press release here).

Thanks in no small part to community advocacy, no doubt. Let's make sure it is spent well.

Dan Wiley

Community Coordinator
Congresswoman
NYDIA VELAZQUEZ

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

New York City Community Air Survey

The Department of Health is conducting a New York City Community Air Survey (NYCCAS) together with CUNY/Queens College. The survey is conducted from 150 street-level sites all over New York City, and initial reports are planned to be released at the end of 2009. NYCCAS will, however, not look at individual neighborhoods, but at air quality in NYC as a whole. The air pollution measurements will be analyzed using a statistical procedure known as ‘land use regression’ which examines how pollution levels vary in relation to traffic, buildings, trees, and other neighborhood factors.

More information can be found at the following website:

http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/downloads/pdf/eode/nyccas-air-survey.pdf

Public Services Committee meeting Wednesday, July 8

The monthly Public Services Committee meeting will be held at the Post-Graduate Center on 177 Columbia Street between 7:00 and 8:00PM on Wednesday, July 8. Welcome!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Borough President's Public Hearing re: Carroll Gardens/Columbia Waterfront Rezoning

Continuing the public review process for the Carroll Gardens/Columbia Waterfront rezoning, the Borough President will hold a public hearing 4:30 P.M. on Tuesday, July 14, 2009.

Location: Court Room, Second Floor, Brooklyn Borough Hall, 209 Joralemon Street, Brooklyn, New York 11201.

The rezoning is item 5 on the agenda. Keep in mind the time required to pass through the security checkpoint at the building.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Effects of the Gowanus Facilities Upgrade

As mentioned at the general meeting, the upgrade of the Gowanus wastewater evacuation facility will have some impact on our fair neighborhood, and in particular the Columbia/DeGraw Street intersection. The estimated total building time is four years. Traffic on Columbia and DeGraw will be affected by lane closures and periodic street closures over a period of two years and four months, starting in February 2010. The DeGraw part of the intersection will be closed for approximately 12 months, and there will be an additional lane closure on DeGraw for 14 months. However, several noise, soil and ground water test sites are planned, which very well may be of use for the neighborhood.

The plan in its entirety may be found here:

http://www.nyc.gov/html/dep/html/environmental_reviews/gowanus.shtml

The effects on our neighborhood are mainly found in the appendixes.

Yesterday's General Meeting

We would like to thank everyone for coming out to last night's General Meeting.
- Tom Gray from Bill de Blasio's office, who was going to give an update on the salt pile, send his regrets, he had to meet with the NYPD re. an incident in Park Slope. CoWNA is going to continue reaching out to ASI, the city agencies and local officials in an effort to have the salt pile removed. If anyone from ASI reads this, we would appreciate if Matt Yates returned our calls.
- Thank you to Ellen Whelan-Wuest from Senator Squadron's office for her presentation. We are happy to report that the neighborhood overwhelmingly supports the Senators proposal for Brooklyn Bridge Park.
- And finally, thank you to Venetia Lannon from the EDC and Greg Brayman from Phoenix Beverages. After last night's meeting it is clear that many in the neighborhood have strong opinions on the EDC's plans for Atlantic basin and Phoenix' move to Piers 7 & 11. We are sorry that due to time constrains, not everyone got to speak last night. If you have any questions or comments on this issue, please leave them below.

Monday, June 29, 2009

CoWNA voices concerns over Phoenix Beverages move to Piers 7 and 11

As plans for Phoenix Beverages to take over piers 7 and 11 seemed to materialize, CoWNA wrote a letter to the Economic Development Corporation voicing our concerns, which primarily are:
- a speedy conversion of Phoenix' truck fleet to CNG
- truck traffic on local streets
- traffic volume on the BQE ramps
- cold ironing to reduce pollution

To read the letter the CoWNA Executive Committee wrote to the EDC and the EDC's reply, please download CoWNA-EDC.pdf.

Venetia Lannon, VP of the Economic Development Corporation will present their plans for the Atlantic Basin on Wednesday, July 1st, at CoWNA's General meeting held at 7 PM at Jalopy (315 Columbia Street). This is an issue that will impact all of us, please attend.

CoWNA Executive Committee supports Squadron's BBP plan

At our General Meeting on Wednesday July 1st, State Senator Squadron's office will present his plans for the future of Brooklyn Bridge Park. The Executive Committee of the Columbia Waterfront Neighborhood Association finds that the Senator's proposal for Brooklyn Bridge Park will benefit the neighborhood in many ways when completed. CoWNA supports the plan for the following reasons:

1. The addition of a bubble for year round ball fields/courts, a pool and an ice rink would get significant additional use out of the Brooklyn Bridge Park than the current proposal while only increasing costs by a small amount. Improved recreational and cultural facilities will also increase the appeal of our neighborhood and help create new business opportunities.

2. A ferry landing at Pier 6 would connect the southern end of the park to the rest of New York harbor using a mode of transportation that impacts the environment less than cars or buses. The increasing population of Brooklyn will also benefit from having more options than subway, bus or car for commuting or other travel between the boroughs of New York City.

3. We find housing in a public park undesirable. We therefore believe that PIRC is a better way of financing the maintenance of the park. Senator Squadron’s plan proposes keeping One Brooklyn Bridge Park and the Pier 1 Hotel, so the amount of money needed to fill the operations and maintenance budget is only about $7.5 Mio/year, which is an achievable amount, considering the potential for rezoning in the .4 mile radius he proposes. PIRC is neither a new tax nor an increase of current taxation, rather it redirects a % of property tax revenue increases on rezoned areas and properties to finance the Park’s operations.

We would like to know, how our neighbor's feel about this plan. Please attend Wednesday's presentation (7 PM Jalopy, 315 Columbia Street).

.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Public Hearing Regarding Rezoning

The CB6 Landmarks and Landuse Committee will hold a public hearing regarding the Carroll Gardens/Columbia Street Contextual Rezoning plan. There will be a discussion and formulation of a recommendation based on the application submitted by the Department of City Planning to contextually rezone Carroll Gardens and a significant portion of the Columbia Street District neighborhoods to protect the existing built form environments. The hearing will take place at Long Island College Hospital, 339 Hicks Street, at 6 PM on June 25.

Monday, June 22, 2009

New date for CoWNA General Meeting: July 1st

Jalopy accidentally double-booked their venue for Wednesday and was not able to reschedule the other event, so we are rescheduling our General Meeting for Wednesday July 1st. We apologize for the inconvenience.
Agenda:
- The salt pile on ASI's piers
- A presentation by the NYC Economic Development Corporation on plans for Atlantic Basin
- A presentation of Senator Squadron's plans for Brooklyn Bridge Park
New Date: Wednesday July 1st
Time: 7 PM
Place: Jalopy, 315 Columbia St (between Woodhull and Rapelye St.)

Postponement of General Meeting

We were just informed by Jalopy, that they double-booked their venue for Wednesday and are unable to move the other event. We are trying to find a new date and post an update here as soon as we have it. Our sincere apologies.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

EDC to present at CoWNA General Meeting

Phoenix Beverages taking over Piers 7 and 11 and the future use of the Atlantic basin have been very contentious issues for our neighborhood. So, we are excited to announce that Venetia Lannon, VP of the NYC Economic Development Corporation, will be giving a presentation and be available for questions at our next General Meeting, held on Wednesday June 24th at 7PM at Jalopy, 315 Columbia Street. If you have an opinion re. these issues, please feel free to leave a comment below.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Fix The Ditch

The New York City Economic Development Corporation has released a Request for Qualifications for a Brooklyn-Queens Expressway study ("Fix the Ditch") that would look at ways of mitigating some of the impacts the BQE highway trench has had on the adjoining South Brooklyn communities of Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill and the Columbia Street District.

This study is being funded by a $300,000 grant that was secured years ago by Congressmember Nydia Velázquez, with the support and encouragement of Brooklyn Community Board 6 and all the area's major civic groups.

Responses are due by July 8, 2009.

For more information click this link:
http://www.nycedc.com/ProjectsOpportunities/RFPsRFQsRFEIs/Pages/Opportunity45_PC.aspx

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

City of Water Day Festival - Call for Volunteers

On Saturday, July 18th thousands from the Tri-State region will float, ferry, paddle, row, splash, canoe, and kayak their way to beautiful Governors Island for the 2nd Annual City of Water Day Festival, presented by the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance (MWA).

In addition to a breathtaking flotilla of hundreds of human-powered boaters converging on the island from launch points throughout the region the region, this unique and free festival celebrates all that our waterfront could be.  Festival highlights include delicious food from local vendors, exciting bands, harbor tours on a variety of historic and educational vessels, kayaking and fishing opportunities, car-free biking, water-themed children's activities, a Waterfront Action Information Fair, and more!

Last year over seven thousand people took part in City of Water Day.  This year they expect even larger crowds.  To make the day a success, the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance needs close to 200 enthusiastic volunteers to help with everything from greeting attendees as they arrive on the island, to organizing our Waterfront Advocacy Teach-In, to helping wrangle in canoes and kayaks as they arrive.

On Thursday, June 11th at 7pm the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance is hosting an Information Session for prospective City of Water Day volunteers.  Please join them, bring your friends, and be a part of this one-of-a-kind celebration!

What: City of Water Day Festival Volunteer Information Meeting

When:  June 11, 7pm

Where:  457 Madison Ave. 4th Floor, NY, NY

Contact:  
lmiller@waterfrontalliance.org

The City of Water Day Festival takes place on Saturday, July 18th, 2009 from 10am to 4pm, but some volunteer tasks begin as early as 8am and end as late at 7pm. Follow the City of Water Day Festival at:
www.cityofwaterday.org

BQE Rehabilitation: Scoping and Public Information meeting

The New York State Department of Transportation, in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration, is initiating an environmental review for Rehabilitation of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE) in Kings County (Brooklyn), New York (PIN X730.56). The project limits are the approximately 1.5-mile portion of the BQE between Atlantic Avenue and Sands Street, including the triple cantilever section of the roadway that supports the Brooklyn Heights Promenade. The need for the project is to address the structural deterioration and operational deficiencies affecting this segment of the BQE, which is characterized by narrow lanes, lack of shoulders, and short merge/weave distances near on-/off-ramps that do not meet current highway design standards, and vertical clearance constraints.

The combined Public Information Session and Scoping Meeting will be held on Monday, June 22, 2009 at the Dibner Building’s Pfizer Auditorium, Polytechnic Institute of NYU, 5 MetroTech Center, Brooklyn, NY 11201 between 3.00PM and 6.00PM (afternoon session) and between 7.00PM and 10.00PM (evening session), during which the public will be provided with information included in the DSD and an opportunity to comment on the scope of the Draft EIS (DEIS). NYSDOT personnel will be available at the Scoping Meeting and Public Information Session to answer questions concerning the project and proposed scope of the DEIS.

Please contact Adam Levine (alevine@dot.state.ny.us) of the New York State Department of Transportation for general questions regarding the project.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Next CoWNA General Meeting

Please mark your calendar, our next General Meeting will be on Wednesday June 24th.
When? 7pm 
Where? Jalopy, 315 Columbia Street (between Woodhull & Rapelye Streets). 
Some of the items on the agenda are:
- The salt pile on ASI's piers
- Phoenix Beverages taking over Piers 7 and 11
- Senator Squadron's proposal for Brooklyn Bridge Park

A more detailed announcement, including guest speakers, to follow soon.

Brooklyn-Governor's Island Ferry Launch this Saturday

From State Senator Squadron's office:
I am writing to share some exciting news- this summer there will finally be free ferry service between Brooklyn and Governor's Island!
 
This ferry is something that Senator Squadron has long requested to better connect the Brooklyn Waterfront with the rest of New York Harbor, and we hope that you will be able to celebrate with him at the ferry's innaugural launch this Saturday, June 6 at 11:00 am, at Fulton Ferry Landing.
 
The ferry will leave Fulton Ferry Landing every hour, every Saturday when there is programming scheduled for Governor's Island.  It will stop at Governor's Island and Battery Park in Manhattan.  Please visit www.govisland.com for a full schedule...
 
...and please join Senator Squadron and other community members to celebrate the first launch this Saturday at 11:00!
 
Ellen Whelan-Wuest
Brooklyn Office Director
State Senator Daniel Squadron

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wednesday: Brooklyn Bridge Park meeting at LICH

Today's CB6 Park's Committee meeting will include:
-  a discussion with Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation President Regina Myers on the status of the approved Brooklyn Bridge Park plans including updates on the ongoing site preparation work, projected construction phasing/timetables, and other matters related to the park. 
- a discussion with State Senator Daniel Squadron who will be sharing his ideas for how the development of Brooklyn Bridge Park should proceed, including a proposal to change the revenue structure of the park.
CoWNA's Executive Committee has met with the Senator and is in support of his proposal, primarily because it would eliminate the need for any additional housing in the park. 

This is a public meeting, we encourage everyone to attend.

Wednesday, May 20th 6:30pm
LICH, 339 Hicks Street, Conference Rooms A and B
 

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Brooklyn City Planning presentation to CB6 Land Use Committee 5/14/09

These notes and comments were prepared by CoWNA Land Use committee chairperson Norman Cox:

This presentation was characterized as informational since the rezoning has not yet been certified. Formal public review process has not yet started. It is hoped that certification will be granted by 1 June 2009. It is important to note that after certification, City Planning will resist changes to the proposal.

The presentation started with an explanation of how the boundary of the study area was determined. The study area encompasses all of Carroll Gardens and the Columbia Waterfront area. It contains only the existing R6 and commercial zones; the study area includes no manufacturing zones.

We were shown maps of the existing zoning, existing uses and density represented by floor area ratio (FAR). The review of the existing conditions in the study area included photos of typical buildings in the area as well as photos of buildings that are considered out-of-context. The out-of-context buildings were presented as examples of the kind of undesirable development that the rezoning proposal is designed to prevent.

The rezoning proposal was characterized as a ‘preservation’ plan with the goal being to preserve the essential character of the neighborhoods while allowing some room for development. There are two main features of the plan: 1) change all current R6 zones to ‘contextual’ zones (R6A, R6B, R7A) and 2) adjust the commercial zones to reduce the risk of commercial uses spreading up the side streets and/or taking over residential buildings.

The proposal affects the Waterfront district as follows:
1) The Columbia Waterfront residential zones, which are R6 (FAR 2.43), will become R6B, but along Columbia Street from Degraw to Woodhull would be zoned R6A. R6B allows for a 2.0 maximum FAR, R6A allows for a 3.0 FAR. City Planning’s rationale for this up zoning is that they would like to promote Columbia Street as a commercial strip and they believe that the extra FAR is necessary so that a developer who provide commercial space still has enough floor area left to create a profitable residential building.
2) The commercial zone will be changed from C2-1 to C2-4 to allow expanded list of allowable uses. Many of the additional uses already exist, and this change would basically legalize them.
3) The east side of Tiffany Pl. would be rezoned R7A which reflects the large scale of the existing buildings there. The west side of the street would be R6A.

The rezoning to R6A or R6B has the following benefits:
1) Buildings will have a fixed height limit: for R6A it is 60’ at the street then 70’ after a 15’ setback. For R6B the maximum heights would be 40’ at the street then 50’ after a 15’ setback.
2) The ability to use the higher FAR of a community facility to increase the total area of a building will be eliminated.

We have a number of reservations about the proposed R6A zoning along Columbia Street:
1) The demand for commercial space along Columbia Street is not great; there is a relatively small population living within the adjacent blocks, and the lack of crossings at the BQE is a disincentive to crossing over from Carroll Gardens. We are not confident that a lot of additional commercial space could be absorbed.
2) There is a risk that developers would devote ground floor space to parking rather than commercial space, which would increase the height of the building and eliminate active use of the ground floor.
3) Many of the buildings along Columbia Street are in fair to poor condition and may be torn down to make way for larger developments (east side at the corner of Degraw).
4) There are potential development sites in the manufacturing zones along Columbia (west side between Degraw & Sackett, at the corner of Summit, east side at Woodhull), which would be attractive to developers willing to pursue private rezonings. Such private rezonings would be to R6A to match the adjacent zone.
5) For buildings developed on larger lots, the resulting buildings may be out of scale: City Planning’s own Zoning Handbook states that R6A buildings “typically produce…six or seven story apartment buildings”.

Please provide comments as quickly as possible so that we may forward them to City Planning Staff as they conclude the study and prepare for certification.



Thursday, May 14, 2009

Kayaking in Red Hook

This just in from the Red Hook Boaters:

Ahoy Friends and Neighbors,

This Saturday, from 12-5pm is your first chance to Kayak around Valentino Pier this season and to help the Red Hook Boaters paint the new Kayak Shack at the end of Coffey Street. This event is part of the It's my Park Day with Parks and Recreation and other organizations, including Portside NY who will be helping a hand so it's a great opportunity to get involved. Wear a bathing suit, or shorts and a T-Shirt, sunscreen and bring water to drink. see: http://www.redhookboaters.org

The Boaters are also open on Sunday (5/17 from 1-5pm) but before or after you kayak, see Budd Schulberg's Iconic Play "On the Waterfront" aboard the Waterfront Museum across from Fairway. Say "the Gowanus Dredgers sent me" and an extra $5 contribution will be made to support the museum (in addition to your ticket purchase). The museum will be traveling soon so this is your last chance to see an event before their departure! see: http://www.waterfrontmuseum.org/waterfront/index.html

In June, the Museum returns with an unusual crew of CircuSundays performers and you are encouraged to purchase tickets ASAP before they sell out! Of course, there will be Red Hook Kayaking every Sunday in June so be sure to get on the water! see: http://www.waterfrontmuseum.org/circus/schedule09.htm

NYCDOT Focus Group members needed to gauge public transportation needs‏

Since many of us live according to the whims of the B61 and B71, it may be of interest that the Downtown Brooklyn Surface Transit Circulation Study of the NYCDOT is looking for participants in focus groups to better gauge the public transportation needs of our neighborhood:

"The Downtown Brooklyn Surface Transit Circulation Study Project Team is asking for your support in identifying potential participants for an upcoming series of focus groups. As mentioned at the first stakeholder meeting, these focus groups will help the Project Team to identify and profile the distinct travel experiences, perceptions, expectations, and preferences of the community. The focus groups will provide direct feedback on a number of travel issues including:

  • levels and patterns of transit use and assessment of services
  • key origins and destinations within the study area
  • locations served and unserved by transit
  • span of service and service frequencies of transit services
  • walking conditions along routes to transit stops and at transit stops
  • walking conditions along routes unserved by transit

The participants will be organized into two groups: 1) Residents and Community groups, and 2) Business Owners/Managers and Employees. These groupings will best represent the residential and commercial standpoints on existing surface transit in Downtown Brooklyn".

Contact Frederick Fooy (publicservices [ a t ] cowna.org) if you'd like to participate.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Public Services Committee meeting tomorrow at 7:00PM

The monthly Public Services Committee meeting will be held at the Post-Graduate Center on Columbia Street between 7:00 and 8:00PM on Wednesday, May 13. Welcome!

Meeting about future BQE renovation Tuesday Evening

This evening, the BQE Stakeholders Association will be holding a meeting regarding the future of the triple-cantilever section of the BQE, which is the section that runs north of Atlantic Avenue and includes the Promenade. The state Department of Transportation is launching a study to decide how to renovate the structure, and the study is scheduled to end in 2017, after which the construction is supposed to begin. There are several questions regarding the construction, including how the traffic is supposed to be diverted, noise reduction, and enviromental concerns.

The meeting is held at 6:30PM, tonight, May 12, at the NYU Polytechnic University, Dibner Building, Pfizer Auditorium, 5 Metrotech Center (corner of Jay Street and Myrtle Avenue in Brooklyn).

Friday, May 8, 2009

Road resurfacing on Hamilton Ave.

This info. was passed to us by Ellen Whelan-Wuest from State Senator Squadron's office - and a neighborhood resident!

We have just been informed by the Department of Transportation that as part of their seasonal street resurfacing work they will be including the northbound (inbound) segment of Hamilton Avenue between 2nd Avenue and Van Brunt Street in our district. Because of the heavy, daily traffic demands on this important street, DOT has scheduled this work to take place at night only. Effective Monday, May 4, 2009 they will begin milling the street. Milling is the process of stripping away the top few inches of asphalt to (i) recapture the material as recycled asphalt product (RAP) which is reused as an aggregate material at the plant, (ii) to scarify the surface for enhanced adhesion of the new asphalt surface material, and (iii) to ensure proper drainage by maintaining the street grade below the curb reveal. When the milling crew completes their work, a followup resurfacing crew will apply the new surface. There is a lag time between these crews, typically up to 2-3 weeks. When the resurfacing crew completes their work, a final crew will reapply the markings. There will be a lag between these crews as well. All street work is dependent on weather and field conditions, so schedules are subject to change.

Thanks Ellen!

City Planning re-zoning plan presentation

City Planning will be making their first public presentation of their re-zoning proposal for Carroll Gardens and the Columbia Waterfront District in response to our two neighborhood's requests and re-zoning proposals. City Planning will be presenting to the Community Board 6 Landmarks/ Land Use committee. The CB6 announcement and meeting details are below:


Presentation and discussion of the Department of City Planning’s proposed Carroll Gardens Contextual Rezoning study, a proposal to contextually rezone the residential zoning district which covers the Carroll Gardens and Columbia Street Waterfront neighborhoods.

P.S. 58 Auditorium 330 Smith Street (between Carroll St & 1st Place) Brooklyn NY 11231
Thursday, May 14th at 6:30 PM

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Waterfront Uses Report - 2005


"Road salt is needed to keep City streets safe and accessible during winter snowstorms but these salt piles do not need to be sited along New York City’s waterfront! Although the City has committed to move or containerize some of these salt piles progress has been slow or nonexistent. For instance, the Harlem River salt pile is scheduled to move in 2006 but despite community opposition to the South St. salt pile in lower Manhattan DOT remains uncommitted to a scheduled move. In addition to being a poor use of the waterfront, road salt may be harmful to the environment. According to the non-profit Riverkeeper, road salt typically contains sodium ferrocyanide and a variety of chlorides, which can break down into cyanide and negatively charged chloride ions that are harmful to wildlife, vegetation and aquatic organisms."

-Waterfront Wastes and Opportunities 2005, By Council Member David Yassky


So far Councilmember Yassky, who is running for the office of New York City Comptroller this year, has been publicly silent on the topic of the Columbia/Kane salt pile.

Mike Webster

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

This is what my BBQ looked like after being uncovered for one day. What looks like dirt is actually salt (I tasted it!). The whole terrace is covered (I live on Tiffany Place).
This is what the salt pile looked like on Wednesday evening. About 3/4 covered.

D.E.C. investigating salt pile

Another salt pile update:

Brian McCormick has reported that two officials from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation interviewed him at the corner of Kane & Columbia Sts.

Brian said that the officials were looking for information related to the timeline of when the salt pile first appeared, the covered/uncovered status and how the pile was placed there. He also said they mentioned that depending what additives the salt may contain, there could be additional health concerns above those related to the salt itself.

CoWNA will continue to stay on top of the situation and report back.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Salt pile to be removed soon

We just received this email from Bill DiBlasio's office:

Good Afternoon CoWNA,
With the help of Senator Squadron, Councilmember Yassky,
Congressmember Nadler and Brad Lander we where able to bring this to
the attention of the proper authorities. In addition to covering the
pile while no work is being done the Salt will be watered down to
prevent it from blowing into the residential neighborhood. The entire
pile should be removed within a couple day

Thanks,
Tom Gray
District Director
City Council Member Bill de Blasio

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Salt Pile

video
Here is a short video I shot on Saturday 4/26 of the salt pile on the pier near Columbia and Kane Street. Since then the pile has gotten a lot bigger.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Salt Pile Threat


Dear Neighbors,

We need you all to rally your fellow neighbors of the Columbia Waterfront to come out to an emergency meeting tomorrow, April 27, at B61, (Columbia/Degraw) at 6PM to work on a plan of action to deal with the unfortunate missteps by American Stevedoring that permitted the ongoing adverse affects resulting from the now "salt mountain" at about Kane/Columbia. We cannot permit this situation to continue as the flagrant disregard for the health and well being of our fellow residents is now in peril. Please call the numbers listed below before the meeting tomorrow night.

American Stevedoring (port operator)
973.522.0999
718.875.0777

Community Board 6
718.643.3027

Council Member David Yassky (port)
718.875.5200

Council Member Bill de Blasio (Columbia Street)
718.854.9791

Thursday, April 2, 2009

2 Parks Meetings this weekend:

First Open Meeting at the Urban Meadow

The Cabrini Green Urban Meadow welcomes all local residents to our first open meeting:

Saturday, April 4
rain date: Sunday, April 5
1:00pm - 2:00pm
In the Urban Meadow at the end of President street on the corner of Van Brunt.

The Agenda will focus on membership, keys, Sunday jazz shows, Yoga, upkeep and other activities as well as fundraising and bringing greater attention to the Urban Meadow.

****and****


Dear Neighbors:

On Sunday, April 5, State Senator Daniel Squadron will host another public meeting to present his plan for how to make Brooklyn Bridge Park a real, world-class park for our community and our city.


Please join us for the presentation, which will be followed by a Q&A session with Senator Squadron about his proposal.


The meeting will be held at 3:00 pm, Sunday April 5, in the Avram Conference Center, Conference Room A at Long Island College Hospital.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

CoWNA General meeting: March 19

The next General meeting of the Columbia Waterfront Neighborhood association will be on Thursday March 19th at 7:00 p.m. The meeting will be at:

Jalopy Theater and School of Music
315 Columbia St. between Woodhull St. and Hamilton Ave.

The agenda will include:
  • Reports from all standing committees.
  • Update on neighborhood re-zoning request (see also recent announcement).
  • Latest news about waterfront development and usage proposals.
  • Guest speakers (to be announced).
Please tell your friends and neighbors! Come out and get involved in the future of our neighborhood.

**Announcement** Columbia Waterfront district re-zoning request approved!

As most CoWNA members already know, our association has been working very hard for over a year to urge City Planning to re-zone most of our neighborhood from R6 to a contextual zone such as R6B. What this means is that future development in our neighborhood will have a strict height limit and prohibit 'as of right' development proposals that could be 8 or 10 stories or even higher.

We have been notified that Amanda Burden, Director of City Planning, has supported our request and that the Columbia Waterfront neighborhood will be included in the Carroll Gardens re-zoning process as it progresses. We are very pleased and thankful that City Planning has recognized our hard work and sincerely listened to the opinions and desires of the residents of our neighborhood.

I want to thank Norman Cox and the rest of the Land Use committee members who have done so much work to accomplish this. They have done hours upon hours of research, physically surveyed every building and lot in the entire neighborhood, and finally, created a logical and persuasive document to present to City Planning. We also would like to express our appreciation for the support we received from area activists and local representatives and their staffs.

Finally, I would like to say that this great news helps to show that with effort and the involvement of our whole neighborhood, together we can accomplish things and make the Columbia Waterfront district a better and more vibrant place to life and work.

Mike Webster
President, CoWNA

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Waterfront plans discussion.

As some of you may know, the city has announced they are intending to have Phoenix beverage move into the container port at pier 11 - or perhaps also pier 7. Phoenix is a large beer distributor and the sole distributor of Heineken in the NYC area.

All the issues surrounding this are very complicated, but the most controversial issue is the fact that Phoenix has about 100 beer delivery trucks that will be using some neighborhood streets. The vast majority of Phoenix's deliveries will not be local ones, so they will have no reason to to be driving up and down Columbia, Union, VanBrunt or other local streets.

According to Phoenix and the city, from pier 7, the trucks would be traveling from the foot of Atlantic ave. where the B63 buses end their routes, to the on/off ramps of the BQE on Atlantic and the north end of Columbia St. From pier 11, they would be traveling along Bowne St., cross VanBrunt St. and proceed to Hamilton ave. where they would access the BQE on/off ramps there. Please refer to this map of the piers if you're not sure where each pier is.

Phoenix has stated publicly that they have almost their whole fleet of trucks converted to run on cleaner burning natural gas and that most of their deliveries leave well before rush hour at 6:00 am.

The larger picture is that this will allow Phoenix to reduce their overall number of truck trips into the city since the shipping containers from Europe they currently receive have to be trucked from Port Elizabeth, through the city, to their current distribution center in Long Island City. This will also prevent the 600 jobs that Phoenix brings from moving somewhere else out of the city.

Another point is that any kind of development on the piers, whether it's commercial, residential or even a gigantic park will result in additional traffic on local streets; potentially much more traffic. Given the current poor state of the area's mass transit options, this is unavoidable.

Finally, many people believe that pier 7 is a better choice for Phoenix to set up their operation. Doing so would free up pier 11 and Atlantic basin in Red Hook for additional development options that could create hundreds of additional jobs, such as the maritime center that has been proposed by the Fox/Durst group.

So I ask: What do people envision for the waterfront in this community, given the current economy and the proposed plan?

Friday, February 13, 2009

Columbia Street Greenway Cleanup: Saturday, February 14th

Bring your valentine and join BGI’s first 2009 clean-up along the Columbia Street section of the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway. BGI launched monthly clean-ups last summer in cooperation with the Columbia Waterfront Neighborhood Association, in order to keep the newest segment of the Greenway free of trash and debris. Work gloves and tools supplied – but be sure to dress for the weather! Any and all help is welcome since the recent winds have blown a larger than normal amount of trash into the area.

When: Saturday, February 14th, 10:00AM-11:30AMWhere: BGI’s Office, 145 Columbia Street, b/t Kane and DegrawIf you don’t see us outside, ring BGI’s doorbell on the left-hand side of the residential entranceRSVP: Brian at bmccormick@brooklyngreenway.org

Monday, February 9, 2009

CoWNA letter to the EDC: Waterfront development.

The letter below was sent to the EDC on 2/8/09:

January 8, 2009

Re: New York City Economic Development Corp.
RFP for Pier 11/Atlantic
Basin

The Columbia Waterfront Neighborhood association believes that the waterfront infrastructure that both our neighborhood and Red Hook share is a valuable resource that can be used to drive “green” economic development, create long lasting jobs at a living wage and become a public attraction to allow the surrounding neighborhoods to thrive. We also strongly believe that all of these goals can and should be reached in concert.

With that in mind, we are dismayed that the New York City Economic Development Corp. has strongly favored moving Phoenix Beverages to the Atlantic Basin and doesnot appear to have seriously considered other proposals.

Phoenix would be moving their existing jobs from Long Island City to the Red Hook container port. This means that Phoenix will not be creating any new jobs in New York City. If the EDC was to think creatively about more fully utilizing the entire waterfront port infrastructure, there would be a strong potential for creation of hundreds of additional good paying jobs. In this economic environment we find it surprising that the EDC wouldn’t work as hard as possible toward that goal to create as much economic development and job creation as possible. This is, after all, their mandate.

Though involving the public later than we would have liked, we appreciate that the EDC has finally initiated a public dialog on this topic, as witnessed at the Community Board 6 meeting on January 5.

We look forward to participating in a process that effectively engages all community stakeholders and our elected officials. This will realize the full potential of this valuable public resource.

Mike Webster
President, Columbia Waterfront Neighborhood assoc.