Times Reports on BHA’s BQE Plan; Guarded But Positive DOT Response

Today’s New York Times reports that the alternative routing for the for the temporary highway to be used during reconstruction of the portion of the Brooklyn Queens Expressway below Brooklyn Heights, proposed by the Brooklyn Heights Association has, at least in an initial form, been revealed. Scroll down in the linked Times story, past the photo of the designer, Marc Wouters, with the plan in the background, to the image of the plan in full. According to the Times story, “[t]he alternative plan is still largely an untested concept and would require extensive vetting, though the [BHA] did hire a consulting firm to do an initial review.” It continues:

Even the [BHA] says its plan is not meant to be the only solution, but is intended to expand public discussion and challenge city officials to think more creatively about repairing a six-lane highway that carries 153,000 vehicles daily.

The Times story continues:

Polly Trottenberg, the city transportation commissioner, said her agency was analyzing the association’s plan as it also continues to explore other options for rebuilding the B.Q.E. “We’re working through the technical details, but we appreciate them putting it forward,” she said.

Ms. Trottenberg said she expects to end up with four to six options, which will be weighed in public discussions as part of a thorough review process that will last about two years. “We certainly acknowledge that the two we led with [the temporary six lane highway replacing the Promenade and the lane-by-lane approach likely to divert much traffic to local streets] were extremely controversial,” she said.

The alternative proposed by the BHA would place the temporary highway over a portion of Brooklyn Bridge Park, although not any part used by the public except for parking. The Times quotes Park President Eric Landau: “We have questions and concerns about this proposal, but are involved in the discussion.”

Read the linked Times story for more pertinent information, including the reaction of one Promenade visitor.

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  • Andrew Porter

    The NYT article is behind a paywall, so possibly not accessible for everyone. Here are the two diagrams from it:

  • Andrew Porter
  • Jorale-man

    As I said in another thread, I think this shows a lot of promise. I wonder what Brooklyn Bridge Park’s “questions and concerns” are, besides losing the couple dozen parking spaces behind the berms.

  • Banet

    I heard that the Park said they would do “whatever the DOT wants.”

    As this looks like it will block more car noise from the park than the DOT’s DOA proposal I would think the park would favor it.

    Also, it’s a chance to get the original berms rebuilt in a more mangable way. They’ve never planted well and without the little footpaths of the newest berms they need to rappel down them to weed.

  • http://www.yotamzohar.com StudioBrooklyn

    Bring back the goats!

  • W.R.

    What are the zones of vehicular and pedestrian improvements on Atlantic? None of this has been shared with Willowtown AKA the “have nots” as opposed to the fat cat billionaires on the promenade. The plan looks like a sh*t sandwich to everyone other than those on the promenade. Classic.

  • Nomcebo Manzini

    This is NO WORSE for ANYbody – at least not on its face. The reason Trump is President (anything else is just a reformulation of this) is that divide and conquer serves the REALLY rich & powerful.

    (Compared to them, the richest promenade owner/resident is a pauper. Yes, we’re talking wealth a la Koch, Bezos, etc. – not that they march in lock step.)

    The idiots at the DOT – to the extent that they know that if every proposal they float costs pols votes and goes down in flames – LOVE IT when the “needs of Willowtown” are pitted against those of people in another part or parts of 11201.

    Plus, we – like the UWS – have way too many knee-jerk radicals-ancient, who never got past thinking that “if someone is richer than I am, I hate them and will oppose anything that even seems to benefit them.” Grow up!

    It’s Heights children who most need a plan less awful than the DOT one, and this meets that test.

    And just as the SNL News segment last night reminded all that Trump is not just NOT DOWN for the count – he has a “nuclear” option, and heaven knows, he lacks much self-control….

    BBP will only “play nice” as long as the people pulling their strings are vigilant. I predict that Pier House will lead the “anti’s” charge on this!

    They will see all that’s bad and scary about this and lose sight that SOMETHING has to be done … and that something INEVITABLY will have a negative impact on their QOL.

    But even smart rich people usually can’t/don’t see a move or 2 ahead. Fight this one – and they WILL – and then fight whatever is offered instead. Their game plan – if you fight and fight and fight, maybe, money will show up for a tunnel … or new engineers will say doomsday is 2050 … or lane-by-lane hurts them less.

  • CH Denizen

    it is wildly inaccurate to call all those living on the promenade “fat cat billionaires”. I am very fortunate to live there and neither I nor the other 150 people living in my building can claim enormous wealth. We are retired or hard working people in ordinary positions — mid-level business roles, school teachers, cops, architects, lawyers, etc — who came to the neighborhood when it was more affordable.

    I do not have a home in the country to which I can run when the construction noise and the traffic noise and the pollutants become unbearable. And while I clearly understand the need for reconstructing the BQE and the promenade, I simply do not want a highway outside my windows for many years and feel that there MUST be a better way.

  • Save BBP!

    This is worse for: 1. Kids in BBP who will be exposed to more toxins (but hey, most are “undesirables” who rowdily bounce balls on the way to the park 2. Residents of Furman Street (but hey, that’s “new money” and the Promenade is old money so, like no problem) 3. The athletes who work out at Piers 3 and 5 (but hey, they are young and fit, why don’t they just join a gym) 4. Anyone who isn’t a movie star and has a shred of decency who can admit that this is just dumping a problem on some other neighborhood (but hey, eh, um…) Stealing from another poster: SHARE THE PAIN – LANE BY LANE!

  • http://www.yotamzohar.com StudioBrooklyn

    Two words: EMISSIONS ZONES

    Would mitigate toxins problem for EITHER the lane-by-lane plan or the BHA proposed one.

    But by all means, let’s just keep in-fighting because we’re all in love with 20th century infrastructure models. That way the DOT can just steamroll through with a six-lane highway instead of the Promenade, and you know that’ll be in place for double the amount of time it was supposed to at the bare minimum.

  • Nomcebo Manzini

    You deserve a response! Put these 3 words into Google –
    violators fined brussels and you’ll get an article from the Brussels Times. Great photo that looks like the BQE, BUT … the more you read, the more your head will shake as to whether this could conceivably fly in the U.S. – even in a blue state…. YES, we need to think outside the box, but proposals that presuppose “the revolution” taking place in the next year or 2 … DO NOT HELP.

  • http://www.yotamzohar.com StudioBrooklyn

    Thanks for your response.

    Are you suggesting it would come back to an issue of non-enforcement (such as we currently enjoy with our “optional/suggested” don’t run red lights, don’t honk in residential areas, don’t use fake placards to park illegally on the street, don’t smoke in parks, don’t litter, sorts of rules)?

    Or are you suggesting there would be big industry (lobby?) backlash that would prevent it from getting off the ground? Because if we just accept this second one it will kill ANY good idea the moment it so much as suggests an industry or a major business may be inconvenienced (heaven forbid! and don’t you dare threaten Merck, who manufactures Asmanex and Proventil HFA inhalers, ready to be prescribed to everyone in northwest Brooklyn).

    How did these other cities roll it out? I keep making the point that this isn’t some hypothetical thing cities could do. They’ve done it! We can look at their exact step-by-step trajectory from non-emissions-zoned to emissions-zoned, and copy it nearly verbatim if we had the will to do so. Of course we need a mayor who’s on board…can’t we pool our resources and buy one, the way the developers did?

  • Nomcebo Manzini

    Only the last word in your piece makes sense – PAIN. There IS a price to kicking the can down the road for 20 years. It will have to be paid for much of the next 20 years. I am NOT a structural engineer, but COMMON SENSE says that when you hang shelves and things are “popping” off the walls, “repaving”/painting the shelves is NOT the solution.

    Buried in the DOT proposal is a nugget of intelligence – in both senses. Anyone who has EVER done “renovation” knows that it’s more likely than not that something “unexpected” will turn up. The DOT is/was right that the “subway” approach of “run what you can” while you fix what you can at the same time … is WAY LESS viable for roadways.

    We’d all like an instantaneous for free tunnel, but the choice WILL come down to where you put 6 (I do hate that “mandate”) lanes for 10 years APART FROM where they now run.

    360 Furman and its residents might split by “what floor are they on” over the 2 proposals.

    I would miss BBP – I use it regularly – and/or regret that it became less lovely, but the health of Brooklyn Heights residents (90% of them likely to be INJURED by the DOT proposal) simply put most of your arguments into “save the caterpillars” territory.

  • Andrew Porter

    Lots of articles today and yesterday in various newspapers and news blogs about the current outrage, the blocking of views from both the Promenade and the pedestrian walkway on the Brooklyn Bridge when the temporary roadway is constructed.

    I think the opposition to the original dumb DOT plan is snowballing!

  • Clara West

  • mpierce

    Just saw Post article re B.Bridge walkway. DOT forgot to mention that at the meeting

  • mpierce


  • Nomcebo Manzini

    I read the NYTimes story about Howard S. starting his run for President with a very self-serving, “Americans don’t want to see us go back to a 70% top tax rate.” And I chortle.

    But I really think that basically LEZ *are* un-American, even if you can point to Portland or some place where they ARE trying to implement them.

    I’ve never owned a car – and I guess there are quite a few in NYC like me. BUT … I recognize that they are absolute necessities for some New Yorkers. Strictures like “You can’t use this bridge unless there are 3 people in your car” are, I think, part of what nurtured Trumpism, and that makes the cure worse than the disease.

    And you’re savvy about “enforcement.” You have to wonder about the DOT’s sanity. When they were all but going to forbid cars on 14th Street, were they thinking a National Guard call-up?

    I’m no libertarian, but I think there are too many “to the left of me” who can’t get their heads around “government overreach.” Life without liberty does NOT appeal to me, and I think LEZ’s are too far down that slippery slope.

    Y’gotta know when you’re tilting at windmills. Of COURSE, tolls on the E. River bridges should have kicked in 10-20 years back, but even now, I’ll bet they won’t be implemented. Obama must have agonized over single-payer. Smart liberals do well to keep in mind that goring someone else’s ox (or trying to) is VERY RISKY.

  • http://www.yotamzohar.com StudioBrooklyn

    Respectfully, this whole idea about things like green initiatives being “un-American”, it strikes me as myopic. What did you say when they first proposed legislation to curb pollution from factories, or to stop using lead in house paint? Were you around for that one? What about requiring cars to have seatbelts and airbags? Un-American? Government overreach? And are you aware that most passenger cars and small transport vehicles manufactured in the last ten or fifteen years would pass any city’s inner-zone emissions standards?

    Again, just trying to illustrate that the whole “this doesn’t feel American to me” argument is probably based on false premises that are entirely more subjective than you might realize. And by your admission you’ve never owned a car, which is like the most un-American thing you can do, and we don’t even have the Straßebahn to ensure you never have to walk more than two blocks. (See, I was paying attention in Berlin!)

    That said, the last three sentences of your final paragraph sums up my most cynical take, though I’d replace the word “Smart” with a term describing a mixture of impatience and cowardice covered over by a self-declaration of pragmatism. Maybe the Germans have a word for it, but they probably don’t because they just went ahead and implemented emissions zones!

  • Nomcebo Manzini

    Not sure what YOUR last sentence actually means, but let me try harder to “join the issues.”

    1) TRUCKS are, of course, “dirtier” than cars these days – and probably for a generation. Reining them in – because they’re central to Bkyn’s economy – would be challenging and then some.

    2) You’d get allegations – likely to be hard to handle in modern, “liberal” NYC, that this hurts poor people disproportionately.
    3) You ARE right that change comes – on occasions. I just suspect that guns and cars are the knottiest (“nottiest” ?) in this country.
    4) But really – just as they don’t have a good test for driving while stoned, emissions are hard to detect. Random stops?? Surely, you see that this would generate blowback every bit as toxic as abortion does! Some things are better left to campaigns to “do the right thing,” and this may be one of them. (Plus, we already have vehicle inspections?)