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?

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