Convoy to show Ikea traffic impact
South Brooklyn residents who think an Ikea on the Erie Basin waterfront
would turn Red Hook and surrounding neighborhoods into a parking lot are
planning to take their cars to the streets to prove the point.
Dozens of anti-Ikea activists are expected to take part in the caravan
through the streets of Red Hook, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn Heights and
Cobble Hill to raise awareness about the potential traffic the megastore
Organizers declined to say when the procession would take place, or precisely
where, citing fear of reprisal from Ikea supporters.
“What is becoming obvious it that it’s actually not Red Hook
that is going to get creamed by traffic, it’s the surrounding neighborhoods,”
said Lou Sones, a founding member of Coalition to Revitalize our Waterfront
Now! (CROWN), a community group opposed to the Ikea.
The Swedish home furnishings giant wants to construct a 346,000-square-foot
store at the former New York Shipyard site between Dwight and Columbia
streets along the Erie Basin.
Its plans also include 1,400 parking spaces and more than 70,000 square
feet of additional retail and restaurant space along the waterfront.
The proposed store has exacerbated an already split community with one
side, primarily from the Red Hook Houses public housing project, pushing
for jobs while other residents are concerned about traffic and appropriate
Ikea estimates 600 jobs will become available at the store and has committed
to opening a job training center inside or near the Red Hook Houses, home
to approximately 70 percent of the neighborhood’s residents.
Sones and other critics are worried about the 50,000 cars per week —
or 2.6 million per cars per year — they say Ikea will attract.
“What people don’t take into account is the cumulative effect,”
said Sones, who ticked off a number of other large-volume stores that
have already opened in the area including Home Depot, Lowe’s and
Pathmark, as well as the Fairway grocery store under construction at the
end of Van Brunt Street in Red Hook. All are stores that draw a large
volume of drivers rather than mass transit riders.
Responding to word of the protest caravan, Jesse Masyr, Ikea’s land
use lawyer, cited the company’s proposed subway shuttles and a free
Manhattan-to-Red Hook ferry service. He also rebuffed CROWN’s traffic
“The suggestion that Ikea Red Hook will draw 50,000 vehicles per
week is simply untrue,” Masyr told The Brooklyn Papers. “For
example, our studies indicate that on a busy weekend day — our busiest
days of the week — we expect to draw approximately 5,000 cars.”
Laura Goodwin, who lives on Van Dyke Street with her partner and twin
7-year-old twins just a block away from the proposed Ikea said she also
plans to join in the caravan.
“[Ikea’s] attitude is they don’t care,” said Goodwin.
“They don’t care that our kids are going to grow up with asbestos
being released in the air — thousands of rats that will come across
and infest our homes. There’s an apathy there that doesn’t work
Kit Hodge, a Red Hook resident who moved to the waterfront community a
year ago said she is “horrified” about Ikea coming in.
Said Hodge, “People see it as a Red Hook issue, when in reality it’s
an issue for all of Brooklyn.
Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010