BROOKLYN HEIGHTS – NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer, State Senator Brian Kavanagh, Council Member Stephen Levin, and Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon will join neighbors on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade Saturday morning, January 12, to demand a “community-driven solution” for the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE) rehabilitation project.
Organized by A Better Way NYC and the Brooklyn Heights Association (BHA), tomorrow’s rally will call on the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) and Mayor de Blasio to find an alternate way to repair the deteriorating triple-cantilever section of the BQE. Last September DOT proposed two plans to repair the 1.5-mile span of the roadway. The first “traditional” proposal would have crews working incrementally, lane by lane, and would take about eight years to complete and cost $3.4 to $4 billion.
DOT’s proposed “innovative” approach would demolish the Brooklyn Heights Promenade and build a temporary six-lane elevated highway in its place. This approach would cost $3.2 to $3.6 billion and take approximately six years to complete.
Brooklyn Heights residents argue that the second plan would dramatically impact the surrounding neighborhood by taking away a popular outdoor public space, potentially displacing some residents, and bringing noise and air pollution as well as more than 150,000 cars and trucks a day to the area.
After acknowledging the urgency to repair the BQE, in a letter to Mayor de Blasio in December that was posted online by Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Comptroller Stringer wrote, “I am concerned, however, that the stated goal of ‘minimizing construction impacts to local communities and the public’ has not been honored. The Department of Transportation (DOT) has failed to engage the surrounding neighborhoods in a substantive manner, has not been sufficiently transparent regarding alternatives to the current project, and has ‘eliminated several alternatives from further consideration’ in a cursory manner.”
In November, the BHA presented DOT officials with their own proposal for the project that would re-route BQE traffic west to a temporary two-level structure built on Brooklyn Bridge Park’s sound attenuating berms, leaving the beloved Promenade intact.
Following the meeting, BHA’s Executive Director Peter Bray told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle that DOT would review the group’s alternate design and meet with BHA again following a “preliminary analysis” to discuss the “technical aspects” of their proposal.
Earlier this week, BHA sent DOT Commissioner, Polly Trottenberg, a letter requesting that the agency reconsider its plans for the BQE and work with non-agency experts to find an alternate solution, as DOT recently did for the L Train tunnel repairs. The group insists both projects “pose huge engineering challenges” and “would impose unthinkably devastating consequences” on communities.
“The Brooklyn Heights Association implores you and your colleagues to stop work on the DOT’s unacceptable ‘Promenade Highway’ plan,” the letter states. “Instead, we ask DOT to convene a panel of outside engineering and transportation design experts to re-think the BQE project this winter.”
BHA closes the letter stating that DOT should work “to identify the role of this section of the BQE in a 21st century regional transportation solution and to devise an approach to construction activity that will be acceptable to the neighboring communities.” Read the full letter at thebha.org.
Rally For A Better BQE
Saturday, January 12, 11am
Brooklyn Heights Promenade (Pierrepont Street entrance)