For immediate release:
Weinshall Rules Out
North Brooklyn Transport Study
Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, State Senator Martin Malave Dilan, Assemblyman Joe Lentol, Councilwoman Diana Reyna and the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, a policy watchdog group, have called for a transportation study to address growing traffic and transit crowding from skyrocketing development in Greenpoint and Williamsburg.
The neighborhoods were re-zoned for intensive development by city government about a year ago, but the Department of City Planning barely considered the transportation impacts of adding thousands of housing units to the area, which already features the horribly jam-packed L-train.
In a letter to the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, NYC transportation commissioner Iris Weinshall rejected a separate transportation study to follow the rezoning. She claimed the scale of change coming to Greenpoint and Williamsburg does not require a traffic plan, and said mass transit issues should be taken up with the MTA.
Weinshall’s rejection led the elected officials to become involved. They said they want city government to undertake a big-picture look at the likely traffic impacts and infrastructure needs that growth slated for the north Brooklyn area will create.
“We believe it does fall to the city Dept. of Transportation to evaluate infrastructure and operations needs against likely demographic and economic growth. Additionally, more forethought about transportation would put city government in a better position to influence projects that are advanced in the MTA’s five-year capital program cycles. Transit capacity in booming Brooklyn, for instance, will need to be addressed in future programs…Unfortunately, your letter seems to suggest waiting for problems to occur before thinking about and planning to avoid them.” said the elected officials’ letter in response to Weinshall’s rejection.
They also noted that Mayor Bloomberg granted a request by Staten Island officials to create a traffic relief task force for that borough in his State of the City speech last week.
Congresswoman Velázquez said, “Ambitious economic development must occur hand-in-hand with proper transportation planning. Overcrowded streets, sidewalks, and subways are unsafe and threatening not only to public health, but to the vitality of our communities.”
“Traffic is not an Act of God. It can be measured, addressed and planned for – but the solution to this problem in Williamsburg and Greenpoint has to start with an honest consideration of existing and future problems,” said State Senator Dilan.
Assemblyman Lentol said, “We are a rapidly expanding community and we need a comprehensive approach to our already existing traffic and transit problems. Our approach must be proactive and the NYC DOT, MTA and the community must work together on a solution.” The first step we must take is initiate a transportation study for Greenpoint-Williamsburg.”
Councilwoman Reyna said, “We have a serious truck traffic problem due to numerous waste transfer stations. Now the residential boom has brought hordes of construction and debris-bearing trucks, as well as more cars onto our streets, and more people than ever are at risk or delayed just trying to get to school, work or the supermarket. A real plan can help us prioritize the improvements needed to beat these growing problems.”
“Our city is welcoming economic development with open arms, and while that is to the good, we should undertake the infrastructure and transportation planning improvements needed to make it work for citizens and businesses alike,” said Jon Orcutt.
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The Tri-State Transportation Campaign is an alliance of public interest, transit advocacy, planning and environmental organizations working to reverse deepening automobile dependence and sprawl development in the New York/New Jersey/Connecticut metropolitan region.