State Department of Transportation officials studying ways to improve the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, which is cantilevered on two levels below the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, then curves to the northeast near Middagh, Willow, Poplar and Hicks streets, are considering a scenario under which widening of the highway would necessitate taking some residential buildings near Middagh and Willow streets by eminent domain.
YourNabe.com: State transportation planners are currently considering several ways to implement a $300-million reconstruction project of the triple-canitlever portion of the BQE under the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, plus other portions between Sands Street and Atlantic Avenue — but one scenario calls for homes to be taken near Willow and Middagh streets to accommodate the wider highway.
The article goes on to quote Peter King, DOT’s project manager, as calling this “unlikely”. However, residents in the affected area are understandably concerned. The article quotes Beth Taubner, who, it notes, is one whose home would be taken under the scenario being considered, as saying “This upsets me!” While community leaders, including newly inaugurated Brooklyn Heights Association President Jane McGroarty and Community Board 2 District Manager Rob Perris counseled calm and, like Mr. King, stressed the unlikelihood of condemnation proceedings, Rex Roberts, who lives on Columbia Heights near the Harry Chapin Playground (could that also be affected?–the article doesn’t mention it) is quoted as saying, “Eminent domain was used to create the BQE, so I suppose it could be used to save the BQE.”
There will be a “stakeholders meeting” concerning the BQE project–one of a series of such–on Wednesday evening, June 23, starting at 6:30, at St. Francis College, 180 Remsen Street (between Court and Clinton).
Update: YourNabe affiliate The Brooklyn Paper runs the same article, but with maps showing the present alignment of the BQE, a proposal that would shorten the highway by burying it in a tunnel under the Heights(!), and the alignment that would require condemnation of some North Heights properties, and which appears to show the Harry Chapin Playground also affected. These are, however, not the only options being considered.