BQE Rehab Meeting Recap

Today, the New York State Department of Transportation held two project scoping sessions about the two-decade rehabilitation of the 1.5 mile stretch of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway from Atlantic Avenue to Sands Street, and local community members turned up to express their desires and concerns. 

The meetings began with a brief introduction regarding the need for the reconstruction work, and explaining the timeline and process the project will follow. Here’s the PowerPoint presentation: [PDF]

Today’s meetings are the first step in completing the environmental impact statement process. The developers have spilt the project’s review process into what they call two “tiers.” The first tier, which is expected to last until August 2012, will focus on developing the final project design and alternatives.

Following the presentation, community members stepped up to the microphone to express issues and ideas they would like to be considered by the developers. Suggestions after the jump.

Community suggestions:

  • Vertical clearances need to be heightened so that trucks don’t have to exit on Atlantic Avenue.
  • Many suggested that tolls be placed on the East River bridges and the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in order to decrease the traffic flow into Brooklyn.
  • The Atlantic Avenue on and off ramps are in dire need of redesign said Sandy Balboza, the president of the Atlantic Avenue Betterment Association (AABA). Balboza added that measures need to be taken to avoid additional traffic on Atlantic Avenue during construction.
  • Brooklyn Bridge Park should not be used as a staging site for the construction, said Jane McGroarty, vice president of the Brooklyn Heights Association. The park is scheduled to be complete by the time the review process for the BQE rehabilitation ends in 2015. 
  • The roadway should be repaired and resurfaced to reduce axle noise, ending the need for the 30-foot berm planned for Brooklyn Bridge Park, said Judy Francis, the president of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Defense Fund.  Additionally, the absence of a berm would allow for greater flexibility for construction, she said.
  • A pedestrian bridge should be built from the Promenade down to Brooklyn Bridge Park, said John Dew, chair of Community Board 2.

If you couldn’t make the meeting, information will be available at the project website: You can also submit your comments and concerns until the initial project scoping ends on July 22nd.

Once the feedback period ends in July, work will begin on a final scoping document that will outline the vision and limitations for the reconstruction.  That document will be released for public review early next year.

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  • nabeguy

    Great recap Thomas. I don’t quite know how they’ll be able to increase the deck heights to accommodate truck traffic without impacting the Promenade, but I don’t pretend to being an engineer. I’m definitely all over the redesign of the Atlantic Avenue entrance…what a death trap. I’ve literally seen tow trucks parked in the median waiting for business. Not crazy about a Brooklyn Bridge toll, but the elimination of the out-bound-only toll on the VB would certainly help cut down on the volume of truck traffic through BH.

  • adam

    My prediction is that they will stall and stall until a major failure happens that results in a horrific accident that destroys a good chunk of the cantilever. DOT will then get emergency federal funds to rebuild the whole thing as quickly as possible. It took a truck falling through the elevated portion of the FDR to get that monstrocity rebuilt. That’s the way things get done in NY.

  • Eason

    Ha! thats crazy.

    As for the Atlantic Ave BQE exit, this solution seems the most logical to me:

  • nabeguy

    Eason, great link. My only fear is that, by moving the on-ramp further north, the reaction times of drivers approaching it is reduced. And the off-ramp appears to be a very hard right turn. The fact is that when Moses lost his battle with the BHA to drive the BQE through the spine of the Heights, he stopped thinking altogether. At the time, he was lauded for the cantilever solution (only designed for a 60 year lifespan!) but heck…he’d be dead long before anyone figured out the flaws in it.

  • http://deleted Buddy11210

    Ditto – get rid of the useless berm. That way, there is room for more park stuff and less condo-protecting-expensive-keep off the landscape stuff. And the fact that the berm reduces so little of the noise (noise that will be gone altogether with the BQE repair or reconstruction anyway) is just another reason to not spend the big bucks to build it now. The Brooklyn Heights Assn will do anything to run traffic through other neighborhoods (and not their own, including using Furman Street under the BQE) so beware Boreum Hill, Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens…. listen carefully to what Stanton and McGroarty say….