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.
- 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: www.nysdot.gov/BQEdowntownbrooklyn. 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.