“It’s time to put Red Hook on the transit map so our residents have better access to jobs, education, healthcare, cultural amenities and all our city has to offer,” Menchaca said in front of the Atlantic Terminal ferry stop last week.
“If you look behind me, you might not realize it, but you’re looking at the Red Hook stop of our new NYC ferry,” he continued. “This dismal, uninviting area behind me, it’s sad today, but really presents us with an opportunity.”
Menchaca hopes to start with the entrance Conover and Pioneer streets, proposing the elimination of the fence along that wraps around the roadway.
To make the ferry more accessible from other parts of the borough, he wants a protected bike lane along Conover and Pioneer streets that would lead to a CitiBike station at the ferry. He also wants wants the B61 to stop at the ferry.
The councilman is also calling for a bus study of Red Hook and Sunset Park, with the end goal of a new stop on one of the nine express buses that passes through Red Hook into the Hugh Carey Tunnel.
“I pledge to work with the MTA and my colleagues to create a one-seat ride form Red Hook to lower Manhattan,” Menchaca said. “This is one of the topics that comes up often. People want to get on a bus and go right into Manhattan.”
One aspect of his overall transportation improvement plan that was conspicuously absent was the Brooklyn-Queens Connector, a waterfront streetcar that was proposed last year by the de Blasio administration.
“If a vote came today, I’d say no,” Menchaca said. “There’s a lot more that we need to scrutinize.”
Specifically, Menchaca said he’s concerned about the funding formula, which is predicated on increased real estate taxes from devlopment along the route, which he fears will drive gentrification that could displace current residents.
Eric McClure from Streets PAC praised Menchaca’s plan, and and said there’s still work to be done integrating the city’s transit systems.
“We’ve made some great gains here, but there’s still a lot to do in the long term,” he said. “We really need to integrate the ferry and CitiBike with the full transportation system.”