City Council Hires Firm To Study BQE Options

Mary Frost reports in the Eagle that the City Coucil has decided it needs a new perspective regarding the rehabilitation of the Brooklyn Queens Expressway.

The council has selected multinational engineering firm Arup to provide “independent, outside expertise” on the city Department of Transportation’s plans, according to [Council Speaker Corey] Johnson’s office.

According to the Eagle story, Arup will conduct its study independently of the Department of Transportation and its consultants, and independently of the panel appointed by Mayor de Blasio.

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  • Nomcebo Manzini

    Thank the Lord! … DiBlasio’s first few months in office – apart from the horse drawn carriage idiocy – were tarred with the engineered closure of LICH. (You’d think Gov. Cuomo would have owed Bill for doing the dirty work, but I guess that’s not how it worked out.)

    If left to his own oh-so-distracted devices – what IS he thinking to not have preceded Kristin to the sidelines? – his last major act as Mayor would have been to shaft the Heights a 2nd time – putting 6 lanes where joggers jog, dog walkers walk, thousands promenade!

    We’re lucky – even more than that – that Christine Quinn’s successor has the same career path options. And with the increasingly obvious motivation BDB had in appointing Carl to give him cover, … it’s REALLY sweet that Arup probably knows that its marching orders are “First, get Bklyn Heights on board – in more ways than one – by a preliminary ‘The DOT’s preferred approach is/was so egregious that our mission is to find a VIABLE way forward.’ ”

    One can only hope that they – unlike the joke of an “independent commission” Bill appointed – consider some of the more visionary alternatives bruited in the last year or so.

  • Jorale-man

    We’ll see. Arup has done some big-ticket projects – the new Tappan Zee Bridge, Second Ave. Subway, Fulton Center, etc. I do hope they give real serious thought to the various plans to bury the BQE below the rear of Brooklyn Bridge Park. Those plans had the most public enthusiasm and were most environmentally sound. Any kind of “temporary” structure will likely become semi-permanent.

  • Andrew Porter

    Important meeting scheduled:

    The BQE in Context: Communities, Infrastructure and Public Space – Calendar – AIA New York / Center for Architecture

    This session will serve to educate a wider audience about the 1.5-mile Triple Cantilever section of the Brooklyn Queens Expressway (BQE), built in the 1940’s by Robert Moses, which is at the end of its useful life and currently requires replacement or extensive rehabilitation. The AIANY Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Planning and Urban Design Committee formed a joint BQE Task Force to respond to the BQE proposals by NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) and other constituencies. After multiple workshops with interested AIA members, the Task Force authored a report of its findings, BQE In Context, with an agenda of advocating for synergies. The report was subsequently shared with the Mayor’s Expert Panel, formed in response to the public outcry following the NYC DOT Proposal.

    This program will provide a spirited forum for leaders in planning, urban design, and transportation infrastructure to provide commentary on the report developed by the Task Force and the future of the BQE.

    Intro and Historic Background:
    Allen Swerdlowe, FAIA, Founder, d7architects

    Alexandros Washburn, AIA, Founder, DRAW Brooklyn, former Chief Urban Designer for New York City at the Department of City Planning

    Susan Chin, FAIA, Executive Director, Design Trust for Public Space

    Thomas Balsley, FASLA, Principal and Lead Designer, NYC SWA/Balsley studio

    Ernest Hutton, FAICP, Assoc. AIA, Principal, Hutton Associates/ Planning Interaction

    To Register to attend:

  • Arch Stanton

    How did we get here? City engineers were given the task of replacing a complex decaying section of highway. They come up with a viable plan that overcomes many technical challenges and would be the shortest time, least costly and keep traffic flowing. However, said plan would disrupt idilic life in wealthy neighborhood, Most of the residents do not comprehend the engineering, infrastructure and technical requirements/ constraints. So the angry villagers march to the castle with pitchforks and torches, they convince the king to bring in less qualified designers and architects to come up with a solution. A phantasmagoric vision is announced, the villagers rejoice! another advisory panel is formed, alas, they debunk the dream by applied reality. But hey, let’s get more “experts” involved, that will speed things up and keep costs down, not. Meanwhile, the clock keeps ticking as the highway crumbles.

  • Deblasiosucks

    Your description is absurdly condescending.

    You obviously don’t own a business in Brooklyn heights that you’ve spent countless hours trying to keep afloat despite landlords greedy high rents and now the inept city comes and says that they are going to destroy a neighbourhood landmark (read: tourism and foot traffic) for 10 years because they are working in an Ivory tour.

    You also assume that this is a class issue which you are very wrong about – not sure where you live – but if you do live in our neighbourhood- then please move out to and live next to the BQE somewhere and breath in the NOx and SOx emissions – maybe you’ll gain perspective then

  • Arch Stanton

    I did own a successful business in the neighborhood and I do live here, a block and a half away from the BQE.

  • Nomcebo Manzini

    I share your anger – both at the situation and – I’m going to guess you haven’t “hung around” on this blog as long as I have – Arch, who clearly thinks he knows more about engineering and construction than he does.

    In fairness, “rip the bandaid off” probably IS the right approach once in a very long time in connection with construction projects.

    However, I do not believe that this is one of those “blue moon” events. Yes, there are many constraints – financial, legal, etc. – on possible solutions to the BQE’s increasing unsoundness, but the City’s DOT took the now discredited Robert Moses approach of “Just Do It” because – first and foremost – they’re all about keeping cars and trucks moving in the 5 boros.

    Sometimes, lawsuits are inevitable – and not just from someone who drew the short straw in terms of being adversely affected. That could be Pierhouse residents or people at 360 Furman or some lucky enough to live on Columbia Heights.

    Yes, many of those people ARE wealthy – just as many who died on 9/11 were. But surely in a City as “evolved” as New York is, even a NYC bureaucrat should have recognized that asking adults and children to keep their windows closed for 10 years or to wear gas masks could not be a viable “solution.”

    As it happens, a perfectly viable (and visionary) solution was competently prepared and presented about 6 months back.

    Yes, it’s “the High Line” times 1000 in terms of cost & complexity, but just as the High Line is take-your-breath-away lovely, “Brooklyn Queens Park” would benefit hundreds of thousands of NYC residents and millions of tourists.

    Admittedly, Brooklyn Bridge Park would “take a hit” for the better part of 10 years, but putting a park ahead of people is a pretty good definition of “insane.”