Temporary Red Hook Greenway Plan Looks Better Than the Permanent One

Currently, plans call for ditching an interim on-street two-way bike lane in Red Hook once a waterfront greenway is built, but there’s no reason DOT couldn’t keep the interim design. Image: NYC DOT

Eventually, New York City intends to build a biking and walking path along the Red Hook waterfront, one link in the longer Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway. It’s going to be several years before that project gets built, so in the meantime DOT plans to make streets a few blocks inland safer for biking and walking. The question is, why not keep the safer, multi-modal surface streets after the permanent project wraps up?

Last night, DOT presented the interim plan [PDF] to the Brooklyn Community Board 6 transportation committee, which voted for it unanimously. The plan would reconstruct bumpy Ferris Street and Beard Street and make room for a two-way curbside bike lane and green infrastructure features. But the long-term plan for the greenway currently calls for moving the bikeway to the waterfront and putting a parking lane back on the street.

Currently, Ferris and Beard are in such poor condition that there is no sidewalk on large sections of each street, which impedes walking. The shoddy pavement and lack of bike lanes also prevent cyclists from comfortably accessing nearby Valentino Pier. The interim treatment will address both problems, and some people at the meeting last night questioned why the on-street bikeway is slated to be removed once the permanent greenway is built.

“I think that having an interim design is an appeasement to people who are worried about parking,” said committee member Bahij Chancey.

Doug Gordon of Brooklyn Spoke suggested that the DOT leave the two-way bike lane as presented in the interim phase when the full greenway is built out, since Ferris and Beard are quicker, more convenient routes for cyclists riding for utility rather than recreation.


The interim design will probably last several years before the threat of reverting back to a parking lane rears its head. The section of the greenway by Valentino Pier is a long way off, with DDC and DOT still working on securing funds and other sections of the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway taking higher priority.

The CB 6 committee also voted unanimously in favor of Citi Bike expansion into the district, which in addition to Red Hook includes Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Gowanus, and Park Slope. The station map DOT showed had 62 stations across the district.

  • BBnet3000

    NYC bike design mantras: 5′ is wide enough for a one way capital constructed cyclepath, green paint is protection, circuitousness is desirable, sharrows are infrastructure.

    Which ones am I missing?

  • Joe R.

    Pavement condition doesn’t matter, travel time isn’t important, and steep gradients are just fine.

  • J

    I’d add:
    design only for current demand, ignore parking and curb usage entirely, don’t bother trying to create a consistent network, ignore international design best practices cause NYC knows better, do each project independently of all other projects with no future vision in mind, accommodate double parking as much as possible, and double parking lanes are bike infrastructure, (see map claiming West End Ave as a Signed Bike Route) after they installed double parking lanes. Ugh

  • PortSideNewYork

    Many of us in Red Hook want the cobblestone streets preserved, so I hope your term “poor condition” for Beard Street is not a call to put asphalt over cobbles.

  • Geck

    Looks pretty good, though a little light on density, on proposed Citibike locations:

  • Matthias

    Cobblestones are an excellent traffic calming measure. A smooth bike path can be installed while preserving the stones.

  • Matthias

    Wherever possible, require cyclists to walk their bikes.

  • Matthias

    I wouldn’t worry too much about this yet–once people use it and it gains support, it will probably be easier to keep it.

  • Julio

    Never repaint bike lanes after they fade away or after resurfacings, but continue to show them as bike lanes on the NYC Bike Map

  • Wooloomooloo

    Agreed, but it drives cyclists onto the sidewalks.

  • Bahij

    This was mentioned during the meeting. A few years ago CB6 requested that DOT preserve the cobblestones through any street reconstruction. The DOT people at Thursday’s meeting were not aware of this, but said it can be worked into the design, stressing the design is still schematic. This project doesn’t even have a funding source yet.

    I’m happy to leave the cobblestones in the vehicle travel and parking lanes because it slows cars down. The bike path should be paved with a smooth surface. I would like to see DOT spring for granite blocks to match the stones like they did on Varick St. in Tribeca, but that’s a slim chance.

  • Wilfried84


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