Cut off from the rest of the borough by the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and lacking direct subway access, Red Hook can feel like an isolated part of Brooklyn. A study from the Department of City Planning, released last November, calls for expanded pedestrian space, new bus service to Manhattan, and bicycle and pedestrian safety fixes throughout the neighborhood.
A common complaint from Red Hook residents is that there aren’t enough transit connections to the area. Mostly beyond the reach of the F and G trains, the neighborhood is served only by the B57 and B61 buses. Nevertheless, most people depend on transit: Three-quarters of households in the neighborhood are car-free, compared to 55 percent citywide, and 61 percent of residents commute by train or bus.
Transit improvements have been difficult to secure. DOT studied and rejected a streetcar to Red Hook in 2011. While ferries have proven politically popular, especially warm-weather shuttles to IKEA operated by New York Waterway, DCP pointed to the 2011 Comprehensive Citywide Ferry Study, currently being updated, which found expanded ferry service to require too much subsidy to be feasible.
DCP is more receptive to the idea of a direct bus connection to Manhattan via the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel. The agency says the extension of the M22, which runs between Battery Park City and Corlears Hook, just south of the Williamsburg Bridge, is a “viable option” that requires more study from the MTA. An alternative could be a peak-period shuttle, though DCP does not prefer this limited option.
The report’s recommendations aren’t limited to transit. Bicycling and street safety feature prominently, as well.