New residential high-rises line the eastern side of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway in downtown Brooklyn.

Across the highway, to the west, sits the old Brooklyn Navy Yard with hundreds of businesses and what will be the city's first Wegman's supermarket.

Traveling between the high-rises and the Navy Yard means crossing under the highway, which can be daunting.

"There is a lot of trash that can be cleaned up. And it seems kind of dark,” said one resident.

“The walk is pretty dark sometimes and sometimes the bus doesn’t come a lot so we have to wait a long time so could use improvement,” said another.

Regina Myer of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership says a study by the not-for-profit organization identified natural corridors, like Navy Street, linking the communities on opposite sides of the BQE. But even these streets need improvements.

"The Brooklyn Queens Expressway was built after World War Two and it honestly just slashed right through the neighborhood and nobody was thinking back when the highway was built how that would affect the pedestrian connections," Myer said.

Now funding is in place to enhance those connections. This month Governor Cuomo's office announced $5.6 million for the Brooklyn Strand Urban Design Action Plan, to make Navy, Tillary and St Edmond's Streets more pedestrian-friendly.  

"What we're really trying to do is make those connections greener, more walkable and more safe,” said Myer.

Another $1.2 million will be used for upgrades here in Commodore Barry Park.

The park is located between the BQE and the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The state is also allocating 600 thousand dollars for public art throughout the district. All welcome news for those in the neighborhood.

"The area has been underserved so long. You have a lot of newcomers. You have longtime residents and you have a lot of business opportunities that I think another artery moving people from one side to the other, you can't go wrong," said one person.

The city's Transportation and Parks departments will oversee the design and construction of the work, which is expected to be completed over the next two years.