Sunday's oddly overhyped grand opening of the new Wegmans supermarket in the Brooklyn Navy Yard lived up to expectations in one obvious way: It was an absolute carpocalypse.
But that's what happens when you build a suburban style supermarket with a 700-car parking lot in a location that's about as far away from public transit as you could possibly be in the Downtown Brooklyn, DUMBO, Navy Yard corridor (see map).
Other media outlets will cover happy shoppers getting great deals on consumer crap, but Streetsblog brings you the story no one is telling: The presence of that massive parking lot — situated along the Brooklyn-Queens Greenway, one of the most important east-west routes for bridge-bound cycle commuters — will will cause congestion, pollution and crashes on Flushing Avenue.
The video below makes it clear that the main culprit is a new signalized intersection on Flushing Avenue between Navy Street and N. Elliot Place. The signal gives cyclists a green light — but also gives Wegmans-bound left-turning drivers a green light at the same time, causing inevitable conflicts among drivers, cyclists and pedestrians:
Wegmans did not respond to multiple requests for comment. In fact, the store did not even send us a media advisory for Sunday's press conference with Chuck Schumer and other dignitaries. At the press conference, Schumer proclaimed the market a success because of how many jobs it will create. When questioned about the carnage (environmental and otherwise) that will likely result from thousands of new car trips through the mostly residential areas around the Wegmans, Schumer said, "I support mass transit," as Christopher Robbins of Gothamist tweeted.
The Department of Transportation told Streetsblog that it had "approved" Wegmans "traffic plan" for the site (Wegmans did not provide its traffic plan to Streetsblog). The Department of Design and Construction built the new intersection on Flushing Avenue for the store [PDF] as part of its multi-million, long-stalled redesign of Flushing Avenue. But there's no evidence the agency anticipated the kind of traffic that one-lane Flushing Avenue will now be expected to handle.
Streetsblog will update this story when more information becomes clear about who is responsible for this mess.
With fatal crashes on Valencia in San Francisco, Lakeshore and International in Oakland (five in the past week on various streets Oakland), it seems like time to highlight some good news in the midst of the despair