The Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group’s Land Use Committee met on Tuesday, October 4, 2016, in the offices of the Gowanus Canal Conservancy at 543 Union Street.
Committee Members present: David Briggs, Rafael Gomez de Luna, Andrea Parker, Peter Reich, Buddy Scotto, Erica Stoltz, Sue Wolfe
Guests: Terri Thomson, National Grid; Erica Stoltz, CAG/South Brooklyn Local Development Corporation; Maya Kremen, Geto & Demilly Inc.; Siddharth Venkataramakrishnan, Columbia University Journalism School; Leroy Branch, Community Coordinator, Brooklyn Borough Commissioner’s Office, New York City Department of Transportation; Rahul Shah P.E., Director-Movable Bridges, Bridge Capital Design & Construction, New York City Department of Transportation
Review of September 6, 2016 meeting minutes.
Minutes approved without comments.
After introductions, Mr. Shah presented fixed and moveable bridge options that could replace Union Street Bridge. Following are a list of criteria that DOT will consider when selecting a final design:
- With a fixed bridge option, part of the existing bridge can be kept open during construction of new bridge; this is not possible with a moveable bridge.
- A moveable bridge is approximately 3-4 times more expensive to construct than a fixed bridge.
- A moveable bridge is more expensive to operate after it is built.
Private land: Mr. Shah and Mr. Branch confirmed that both bridge options could be built without acquiring adjacent private land.
Navigation: The Coast Guard will conduct a navigational study prior to selection of final bridge design.
Some committee members expressed concern about how the fixed bridge option would limit boating access to the section of the canal north of the Union Street crossing. The committee will ask EPA to explain how this impacts the planned dredging work.
Schedule: DOT roughly estimates that a final bridge design will be determined by summer 2017.
Dredging: DOT confirmed that the existing bridge is operational and can be maintained. Committee members expressed concern if the dredging and barging operations, which will increase the frequency of opening and closing of the bridge, could cause problems with the bridge mechanisms and potentially create traffic problems in the neighborhood.
As part of their review, DOT will take this under consideration as part of the design selection and coordinate the new bridge construction with the dredging schedule. The committee will present this to the CAG as a topic for discussion.
Bridge Naming: Erica Stoltz inquired if any consideration had been given to naming the new Union Street Bridge in memory of Bette Stoltz.
DOT advised that this should be discussed with local elected officials.