DOT Representative Tells Poplar Street Residents it Remains Committed to “Temporary” Promenade Destruction; a Heights Resident Responds

At a recent meeting with Poplar Street residents, the city Department of Transportation’s representative, Tanvi Pandya, made it clear that DOT isn’t giving an inch in its desire to effectively destroy our neighborhood by demolishing the Promenade for a minimum of six years (good luck with meeting that timetable) and putting a six lane highway in its place. A Heights resident has responded by sending this letter to City Council Speaker Corey Johnson:

Dear Mr. Johnson,

I am writing to you as I heard your impassioned speech at the Brooklyn Town Hall meeting at Plymouth Church and how you came out against the DOT plan to turn the Promenade into the BQE.

That being said, a meeting was held between the DOT led by Tanvi Pandya, Manager of the BQE plan for the DOT and residents of Poplar Street and here are some take-aways from the meeting you should be aware of:

1. The DOT remains committed to its Promenade Highway plan. Although at last September’s meeting the DOT itself proposed as alternatives its so-called “innovative” plan or the “traditional” method of reconstruction involving lane closures, they in fact seem to be set against anything other than a full bypass highway. (The BHA’s alternative “Parallel Highway” plan, for example, calls for employing the traditional method in short “choke-point” sections; it also appeared that BIG’s BQP Plan may call for the traditional method to be applied in areas from the Columbia Heights bridge to Sands Street.)

2. The Mayor’s expert panel may make recommendations, but the DOT will call the shots. It appears the DOT views the expert panel as a mere advisory group that will make recommendations that the DOT may or may not follow.

3. The DOT is undeterred by council members’ statements that its Promenade Highway plan will not get the required council approval. When asked why the DOT was still pushing the Promenade Highway and Brooklyn Bridge flyover given that: (i) the plan must go through the City’s ULURP process, which requires city council approval, and (ii) City Council Speaker Corey Johnson said at the Town Hall meeting that the plan would not be approved, Tanvi responded that the DOT would not be guided or limited by what a political leader said in a meeting.

This is highly disturbing and I feel as a concerned resident that response should be made as well as the DOT’s uncompromising stance be made public. Please let me know what actions you and your office will be taking.

Thank you.

We understand similar letters have been sent to City Comptroller Scott Stringer and other elected officials.

Share this Story:

, , , ,

  • Arch Stanton

    If you have been paying attention you would know, its just my prediction. My hope is for the tunnel as that would be the best solution for the neighborhood and Brooklyn at large.

  • Andrew Porter

    DOT to BH: “Drop Dead”.

  • BrooklynHeightzer

    BTW, tunnel is a better solution, but perhaps only aesthetically. The problem is the exhaust gasses still have to go somewhere. They generally use giant ventilation fans to pump the gasses out of the tunnel. Guess where it all goes…On top of it, before drilling a tunnel they would have to do the geological feasibility studies to determine if it is even plausible to drill on the site. Also don’t forget the area is in the flood zone, etc, etc,etc..

    A much better solution (which I already mentioned before) is to legislate and invest into e-vehicles infrastructure and renewable energy sources. This will help the BH folks and the rest on the planet.

  • Arch Stanton

    The change to electric vehicles is already underway, legislation cannot force that. The technology and infrastructure must mature before they become ubiquitous. In the meantime, it may be possible to filter out the micro particulates from the exhaust gases collected in the tunnel.

  • BrooklynHeightzer

    The technology is there, the infrastructure is lagging. In NYS we have emission standards and requirements (that is one thing is checked during annual vehicle inspections), if the legislators lower the allowable level of emission then the next logical step would be EVs and the buildup of the infrastructure. Re-channel the energy from fighting DOT to speeding up the process of adapting EV technology.

  • Banet

    It’s a political issue in that a huge number of the trucks take the BQE route because of the one-way tolling of the Verrazano. If that were to change — which requires an act of Congress — truck volume would plummet.

    (It’s a similar story when it comes to cars bypassing the Battery Tunnel and heading for the free bridges. I expect Congestion Pricing will change that to some degree.)

  • Mike C.

    Really? Acquiesce?

    I think even before the “me-too” movement, it became outre to say, “Just give in and try to enjoy it!”

    The comparison is apt, I think – if fairly uncouth. The DOT plans come as close to raping our community as makes no difference.

    “Acquiesce” certainly implies that you (and others who share this bizarre mindframe) fall into one of 3 categories:

    a) you like the DOT plan (or think it’s better, however that’s calculated, than any alternative that’s been raised;
    b) you are apathetic – i.e., “sooner or later, I’d really have to write a $100 check, and there’s no way on earth I care that much.”
    c) you think that it’s a done deal, and you don’t want to “waste any effort” fighting what you deem to be a losing battle.

    Obviously, none of those work for me. There IS a better proposal – actually 2 of them, but the B.I.G. plan is almost as bold AND doable as the Brooklyn Bridge was in its day.

    And since the DOT alternative is worse than bad, it *will* be litigated, and it goes so far beyond the 2 that the BHA lost – “now my photos won’t show the ENTIRE Brooklyn Bridge” and “BBP has enough future revenue to make 2 new buildings not fiscally necessary” – that some hack judge won’t be able to bury and then dismiss the BHA objections.

    And this doesn’t even get to the fact that no influential politician will give DOT “clerks” the cover they would need to have a fighting chance.

    The opposition does not include Robert Moses, and this is not 1950. Obviously, others may differ, but I’d bet my Brooklyn Heights ranch that the Promenade never morphs into a highway.

  • BrooklynHeightzer

    Category d)Don’t want a train of trucks passing through Henrey&Hicks streets.

  • Mike C.

    And which plan will make that (trucks on H&H; gasp!) least likely to happen? Just curious.

    Maybe, we’re not that far apart. I found Mr. Stringer’s plan that would have kept trucks on the BQE and sent cars (as if it were possible) “through the Heights” via Henry and Hicks to be misguided. The only “plan” that runs the risk you cite is “shut it down”/let the BQE “fail,” but I think you’re safe. You may find the odd – REALLY odd – poster who hates cars & trucks that much, but the powers that be don’t waste much time on “flat earthers.”

  • Mike C.

    Thanks for sending me looking for THAT story.

    Ah – I suspect I speak for many, for a change – what I wouldn’t give for the “simpler time” – a year back, maybe – when the “troubled” bridge over Furman Street was “worth worrying about.” Now, it joins potholes in “and while you’re at it” land.

  • Arch Stanton

    You haven’t done your homework son. Any plan that relies on a lane by lane approach for all or part of the work will likely cause massive traffic back-ups. Both the BHA and the BIG/BQP plans will require lane by lane closures. Where do you think those displaced cars will go?

  • Arch Stanton

    Problem is you don’t have a clue as to the engineering, and legal nightmares the BIG?BQP plan raises.

  • Arch Stanton

    Not going to happen and it wouldn’t make much of a difference on the truck traffic. The toll on the Goethals Bridge is collected inbound to NYC if you tolled the VNB both ways it would mean drivers approaching from the west would be hit twice for steep tolls in just a few miles. That’s not justifiable. Trucks carrying tens of thousands of dollars of goods are not going to be thwarted by an extra toll, the cost would just be added to the bottom line and you and me will wind up paying it.
    The people who would suffer the most, the working class commuters and small trade businesses that have little choice. Just another ridiculous, backhanded tax.

  • Arch Stanton

    Unfortunately, the technology is far from ready for electric to be a direct replacement for fossil fueled vehicles. Batteries take hours to recharge making them impractical for long distance travel. And so far no practical electric semi trucks have been developed. I’m all for promoting alternate energy but that has nothing to do with the BQE problem.

  • Mike C.

    Arch – I hope you give thanks every day that the almighty made you omniscient. Too bad, s/he didn’t give you even a smidgen of humility or self-awareness.

  • Arch Stanton

    Actually in the broad sense I “know that I know nothing” and profess my idiocy at least 3 times a day. However on, science, physics and construction, I know a lot.

    “the almighty” I see you are a religious type, that explains a lot…

  • redlola

    Tanvi is a nasty lady who is behind this idiotic options. hee disdain for the community and thin skin was obvious at the first town hall

  • Arch Stanton

    It may not be a popular option for us in the Heights but it is far from idiotic. “disdain for the community” That’s a pretty harsh judgement I was at that meeting and didn’t get that impression of her at all. Perhaps you are projecting some of your own attitude on her?

  • redlola

    Um I don’t know what meeting you were at but at the initial town hall, of all the folks on the panel, she was the rudest and most argumentative. More importantly, how much are they paying you to constantly shill for their robert moses level incompetence or do you just naturally relate to it? When actual qualified architects tell me this is dumb and there is a better alternative, I’m going to take their word for it.

  • Arch Stanton

    LOL, Yeah use the the classic shill excuse, when you cannot make a logical argument.
    “Actual qualified architects” who might that be? The dot engineers certainly are qualified.

  • redlola

    Guessing that part of your shill engagement is skipping the very recent a better way town hall where two architecture firms presented way more intelligent and sustainable solutions to this robert moses retread your employers are proposing

  • Arch Stanton

    LOL In 30 years of being in the construction industry I have yet to see a realistic budget proposed by an Architect or Engineer.

    I was at the meeting as well.
    The plans presented:
    Scott Stringer’s plan of shutting the highway to cars is completely ridiculous. It would cause massive traffic jams in our and other neighborhoods. Also the federal government (The BQE is part of an Interstate Highway) will not allow it.

    The BHA/Marc Wouters plan would rely heavily on conventional lane by lane construction techniques that would cause massive traffic jams in our and other neighborhoods. Cost more, as the entire temporary structure would be temporary and need to be removed, as opposed the the DOT’s plan where most of the “temporary” structure would in fact be part of the permeant highway. It also complicates and does nothing to address the construction beyond the cantilever section.

    The BIG Group’s BQE Plan a beautiful phantasmagoric “what if we could do anything” bubble, that gets popped by very real world obstacles. To name a few:
    The A/C and R subway vents. 2/3 Subway emergency exit.
    R Subway Sub station.
    The BBP office building.
    360 Furman Street.
    That plan would easily hit $8B maybe even $10B at which point it would be easier to simply build the tunnel from Williamsburg to Sunset Park and eliminate the need for the cantilever all together.

  • redlola

    Arch my dad has more years than you in construction. He thinks the DOT suggestions are idiocy. I will go with his option and I am done discussing this with you. You have earned your DOT check for the week,

  • Arch Stanton

    That’s all you got, LOL, Yeah your done, hon.

  • redlola

    What note do I need to say to a simple minded shill who sees no may past a challenge than a robert moses solution proposed by some incompetent t idiots. My time is better spent talking to more forward thinking less curmudgeonly people.

  • Arch Stanton

    “Simple minded” LOL, I gave a list of very real and very difficult technical challenges facing the “alternate” proposals. All you comeback with is childish, ad hominem drivel… Why don’t you you at least attempt to address those challenges by suggesting possible solutions? Then people might take you seriously, Hon.

  • brooklyn4evr

    I know I’m really late to the game here, but I live on Poplar Street and had no idea that DOT was holding a meeting. Does anyone know how invites were distributed and why DOT was meeting specifically with Poplar Street residents? Thanks!

  • Cranberry Beret

    DOT has reached out to buildings that it considers most affected by possible reconstruction and held informational sessions. These aren’t publicly announced; DOT arranges them directly and privately. Though I haven’t been to one myself, I’ve heard first-hand reports. No new substantive info is conveyed to residents, but they do have a chance to ask questions directly of DOT’s project leaders. My impression is that these meetings serve DOT’s purpose of being able to later “demonstrate” they engaged in community outreach although I highly doubt any input they receive will move the needle on DOT’s decision-making.