The intersection of Van Brunt, Summit and Hamilton in Brooklyn—known to most folks as the entryway to the gentrified end of Red Hook—was never a beauty spot. But for the past two years it's been a downright eyesore and hazard to the local residents.
The arrival of Fairway and IKEA can be blamed for the pile-up of barricades and signs at this crossroads. Before those political-string-pulling institutions came to Red Hook, the intersection was a simple affair. Van Brunt was a two-way road below and above Hamilton, so if you were headed north from Red Hook, you could simply drive across Hamilton and keep on going. If you wanted to go right on Hamilton, you could. And the two-block stretch of Summit was one way headed west.
But everything was changed to satisfy the needs of the countless trucks and van that head to IKEA and Fairway every day. In addition to Columbia Street being widened, Van Brunt was made one way (going south) from Degraw to Hamilton. Buses, which used to use this section of Van Brunt, now have to proceed further down Columbia and hang a sharp right on Hamilton, then a left on Van Brunt. If you were headed north on Van Brunt, you now had to cross Hamilton and then make a right on Summit, a residential street which is now east-bound on one block, and west-bound on the other block.
Sound fucked up? It is. It's only convenient for the goddam trucks. And nobody understood how it worked, simply because the arrangement made no logical sense. So, to coax drivers into the nutso streetplan, huge ugly barricades were set up, as well as a host of signs telling everyone what to do.
That was two years ago. Today, the jerrybuilt system remains exactly the way it was, with no sign of improvement in sight. It's ugly as hell. It's ruined the appearance of a community garden at the intersection. And it's terribly dangerous for bikers and pedestrians. It's nearly impossible to tell at any given time which lane of traffic has the right of way. There are always some cars moving. Plus, there's a park on the southeast corner that kids play in all the time.
Construction was supposed to have been completed long ago, but money problems have apparently stalled the project.