Menchaca Calls for Direct Red Hook-Manhattan Bus Service and Safety Overhaul of 3rd Avenue

Council Member Carlos Menchaca with StreetsPAC Executive Director Eric McClure and Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez this morning. Photo: David Meyer
Council Member Carlos Menchaca with StreetsPAC Executive Director Eric McClure and Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez this morning. Photo: David Meyer

Council Member Carlos Menchaca wants more direct bus service from Red Hook to Manhattan and a “full Vision Zero redesign” of Brooklyn’s Third Avenue, which runs through Sunset Park underneath the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. Menchaca outlined his transportation agenda at a campaign event in Red Hook this morning.

Most of Red Hook is a long walk from the nearest subway station. Nine MTA express bus routes pass by the neighborhood, without stopping, on the way to the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel. Menchaca is calling for an express bus stop that Red Hook residents can use for quick access to Manhattan. In addition, treatments to prioritize local bus service between Red Hook and north Brooklyn would improve transit access for the neighborhood, he said.

Menchaca also called for better walking, biking, and bus access to the new NYC Ferry stop at Atlantic Basin in Red Hook. Currently the only way to access the ferry landing is through an opening in a chain link fence that surrounds a huge parking lot.

All those improvements could happen “immediately,” Menchaca said, unlike the mayor’s proposed Brooklyn-Queens Streetcar, which he would not support as currently proposed. The funding model for the project assumes rising property values due to the streetcar, but the waterfront area is already in the midst of a development boom.

“There’s a lot more that we have to scrutinize around the kind of efforts, through its funding mechanism, that are really going to drive gentrification forward,” Menchaca said of the streetcar. “You’re hearing that from every corner of this neighborhood.”

“I’d rather be focused…[on] things we can do today to improve the lives of our community,” he said. “We’re talking about things that the community is asking for.”

On Third Avenue, meanwhile, Menchaca wants DOT to turn its attention to redesigning the poorly-lit speedway that divides residential Sunset Park from its industrial waterfront. “Third Avenue under the Gowanus Expressway might as well be an expressway itself,” he said.

Two small safety projects are underway on Third Avenue at 36th Street and 43rd Street, where the city is installing curb extensions and other pedestrian improvements.

Menchaca said DOT should begin the public process of extending those efforts the length of Third Avenue under the BQE. “One of the great things about Vision Zero when we were at the infancy of it was having community conversations,” he said. “The folks that are actually crossing Third Avenue should actually be designing Third Avenue, but with the Vision Zero attention.”

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