Saturday, October 29, 2011

Time to Clean Up Port Trucking Industry

As you may have heard, change is afoot on the port. Phoenix Beverages has replaced American Stevedoring as the operator of the Red Hook Container Terminal.

What haven't changed are CoWNA's concerns about the port: the salt pile, truck traffic and pollution. The Brooklyn Eagle recently published a letter from CoWNA about the pollution issue:
The port is an environmental asset for New York. On balance, it pollutes less than other ways of transporting goods to our region. But the port is a dirty business for the Columbia Waterfront and Red Hook.

One of our biggest problems is port truck pollution. Many port trucking companies misclassify their drivers as independent contractors and force them to buy their own vehicles. They pay the drivers so little that they can only afford the oldest and dirtiest trucks.

The Columbia Waterfront Neighborhood Association and our allies in the Coalition for Healthy Ports believe it is time to clean up the port trucking industry.

Phoenix Beverages, the new port operator, could be another important ally in this fight. Or it could be an obstacle. The good news is that the company has a record of negotiating with the community and is even committed to decreasing pollution from its private truck fleet. Here's hoping that Phoenix continues to be a good neighbor.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Reminder: Participatory Budget Neighborhood Assembly

There will be a public meeting to kick off the Participatory Budgeting process hosted by Brad Lander tomorrow evening 6:30pm at PS 58, 330 Smith Street in Carroll Gardens.

Councilmember Lander will present information on the budget funds and residents will brainstorm project ideas and select budget delegates.

More information here and we hope to see you at the meeting.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Update on Traffic Controls for Columbia Street

COWNA received a letter from DOT this month in response to our repeated request for a traffic signal on Columbia Street which was the site of a fatal traffic accident this year.  The letter states that "field evaluations and engineering reviews" for two intersections were completed in August 2010 and and January 2011 and that DOT concludes that signals are not warranted.  DOT will not initiate a new study for a minimum of 18 months.

Belinda Cape, of State Senator Dan Squadron's office, has been monitoring this for us.  She reports that signals and all-way stops were last denied at Columbia and Carroll on 8/25/2010 and at Columbia and President on 1/13/2011. 

New requests will be considered 18 months from the end of the studies: therefore the dates of eligibility for further study are: President and Columbia,7/13/2012 and Columbia and Carroll, 2/25/2012.

DOT has active study for Columbia and Summit for a temporary signal - we should be hearing the results of that shortly.

Columbia Street Reconstruction Update

Update received from Community Board 6:

The Department of Design and Construction (DDC) has advised of an upcoming Night Work Operation that will involve closure of Van Brunt Street from Union Street to President Street (Southbound traffic) during the night.
  • Southbound trucks on Columbia Street will be detoured onto Congress Street, then southbound on Hicks Street.
  • The street closure/detour will be in affect on or about Wednesday, October 19, 2011 through Wednesday, October 26, 2011, from 9:00pm to 5:00am.
  • Van Brunt Street will be open to all traffic during the day and non-construction hours.
The DDC notice is available here.

CB6 further noted the following schedule for completion of  the remaining work (keeping in mind that, with respect to the Columbia Street Reconstruction, things don't usually go according to plan).

  • Completion of the Sewer along Van Brunt Street (between Degraw Street and Hamilton Avenue): end of December 2011.
  • Completion of the Water Main along Van Brunt Street (between Degraw Street and Hamilton Avenue): end of February 2012.
  • Completion of Curb, Sidewalk, and Roadway surface of Van Brunt Street (between Degraw Street and Hamilton Avenue): end of April 2012.
  • Re-opening of Van Brunt Street, removal of the detour at Van Brunt Street/Hamilton Avenue/Summit Street and the restoration of two-way traffic along Van Brunt Street: end of April 2012.
  • Completion of work on Summit Street (between Columbia and Van Brunt Street): end of June 2012.