Mayor Prefers Replacing Promenade With Highway During BQE Reconstruction

The Brooklyn Paper reports that Mayor Bill de Blasio has expressed a preference for the City Department of Transportation’s “innovative” plan that would close the Brooklyn Heights Promenade for at least six years and replace it with a temporary six lane highway that would render some residences virtually uninhabitable. The Brooklyn Paper story quotes the Mayor:

It will definitely have a big impact, but I think it’s the way to address the bigger problem once and for all, and as quickly as we can … It’s a painful approach, it will definitely create a lot of inconvenience for people — I don’t want to underestimate what impact it would have.

The Mayor is also quoted as saying the “traditional” option of rebuilding the BQE in segments while keeping some lanes open and closing portions of the Promenade in order would divert too much traffic to local streets. He didn’t mention any other options, still on the table, such as a tunnel, or some that could reduce truck traffic and allow more time for reconstruction, such as putting two way tolls on the Verrazano Bridge, or tolls on the East River Bridges, or congestion pricing (which would require federal, in the case of Verrazano tolls, or otherwise state cooperation). The Mayor described replacing the Promenade with a highway as “kind of the pull-the-band-aid off approach.” A band-aid that takes six years or more to pull off?

Photo: By Kevin Case from Bronx, NY, USA (Bill de Blasio) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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  • Roberto Gautier

    It appears that the Mayor spoke too soon about the options for the rebuilding of the BQE cantilever. It would have been better if he showed patience and sensitivity and had waited until other plans emerged from the community after it expressed its wish for the DOT to go back to the drawing board.
    The so-called “innovative” approach of replacing the Promenade with a six-lane highway is a resounding NO to most people and organizations in the community. Of course, the Mayor can always change his mind on this.

  • Sen. Bob Forehead

    So your plan is to put 6 lanes of traffic on the top level of a failing multi-level structure, a level not originally engineered for traffic, and then rip out and replace the level beneath this one with traffic running over head?
    Geezus, who’s running this project, the Bouncy-Bridge Engineer?

  • Jorale-man

    For a longtime Brooklyn resident, he sure doesn’t show much respect for the history and beauty of Brooklyn Heights. Nor does he seem concerned about the impact that a 6-lane highway would have on tourism in the area. Then again, maybe he sees this as a way to “stick it to the rich” who live alongside the promenade.

  • Cranberry Beret

    While I’m 100% opposed to the so-called “innovative” plan, you’re not describing it correctly. The promenade as we know it would be completely demolished first. In its spot would be the 6-lane highway. But the highway would not be “on” the Promenade.

    Not trying to be catty here. We as a neighborhood need to be accurate and sophisticated in our opposition to the city’s plan, otherwise we will be completely ignored as NIMBYs.

  • Eddyde

    That is not correct. The plan, which is well illustrated on the BQE project website, will be to first completely remove the Promenade then build a new structure up from Furman St, that will support the temporary roadway and the new roadways below. When the temporary roadway is no longer needed it will be removed and replaced with a new Promenade.

  • Claude Scales

    This is sheer conjecture, and should therefore be taken with caution. I was once told that, when he represented a City Council district that includes Cobble Hill (the district now represented by Brad Lander), de Blasio worked a deal that would have allowed Two Trees (the Walentas controlled developer) to violate the fifty foot height limit on new construction in Cobble Hill by putting “cabanas” on top of a new building. When word of this got out to the community, the Cobble Hill Association mobilized and was able to kill the deal. Because of this, I was told, de Blasio has an abiding dislike for Cobble Hill. If so, perhaps this dislike extends north of Atlantic Avenue, to another community with a similar height restriction and strong commitment to preservation.

  • Eddyde

    Accurate, I say. Just look how he duped us on the hospital.

  • gc

    The Mayor is recommending a plan that may ruin our neighborhood and will certainly make some of our homes and apartments uninhabitable.In my opinion, we need to confront him, face to face, at his gym, at his work, and at his home. We need to do this day after day until it gets to the point where he begins to understand that this is how it’s going to be until he changes his plan.

  • Banet

    Actually, the cabanas got built. The CHA made a (justified) stink and they had to be removed. It’s the building above Barney’s where this happened.

  • Claude Scales

    You’re right. I forgot that was the sequence of events.

  • Herman on Henry

    Mayor Bill de Blasio is piece of sh*t

  • Jorale-man

    At the very least someone should remind him that he’s part of the Climate Mayors coalition, which is intended to fight climate change ( Building a 6-lane highway alongside a residential neighborhood isn’t exactly a way to burnish your environment credentials.

  • HN

    I have heard that the “temporary” roadway will have a useful life of 25y. I have a hard time believing that the “temporary” highway will only be there for 6y as construction delays are inevitable.

  • HN

    I think he just doesn’t want the BQE traffic to flow through Park Slope.

  • Eddyde

    25y is probably a minimum standard. I doubt its an indicator of a conspiracy.
    The columns supporting the temporary roadway will be a permanent part of the new roadway structure, that will have a supposed 100y life.

  • Eddyde

    ” We as a neighborhood need to be accurate and sophisticated in our opposition to the city’s plan, otherwise we will be completely ignored as NIMBYs.”
    Exactly, that is why simply telling the city to “find other options” will fail. We need to be the ones to present a viable alternative. That means a feasible plan with enough detail to show it not only meets the requirements of the neighborhood but of the project and highway as well.
    Are there any Civil Engineers in the house?

  • HN

    Agree that it’s not an indicator of a conspiracy. It just points to the fact that 6y is a best case scenario. Someone earlier on this website was telling me (and others) that the structure will only last around 6y so don’t worry about it lasting longer than that.

    For me, anything beyond 5y might as well be as good as permanent.

  • KXrVrii1

    While the environmental impact remains to be done, it seems plausible to me that the incremental approach could be better environmentally for the broader neighborhood, as it would involve more gridlocked traffic over a longer period of time.

  • GoHomeNY

    sign up for and add a review of your building! share with others what is amazing / horrible about living there!

  • Jorale-man

    I think it would take an environmental engineer to say either way. But it seems to me that if the city dis-incentivizes people from driving in the first place (with added tolls or congestion pricing) that would help clean up the air (which on some days isn’t so great as it now stands).