Open Thread Wednesday

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  • Jorale-man

    This Curbed article notes that the mayor-appointed panel formed to look at solutions to the BQE repairs “now aims to release its recommendations by the year’s end.” Not much time left. Any guesses as to what they’ll come up with?

  • Cranberry Beret

    You can bet if they’re dumping this report at year-end when no one is paying attention, then no politician thinks it has any publicity-friendly ideas to highlight. Meaning we’re likely getting a whitewashed approval of some variant of DOT’s original proposals.

  • CassieVonMontague

    Rumor around town is that they already decided to go with a version of the original proposal. I hope it’s wrong.

  • Jorale-man

    Good points. Maybe it will land on Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve. Should be interesting.

  • Nadine

    Just was at hillside dog park. 2 people in a white van came in with 30 dogs (i counted). Dogs are poiping everywhere the guys dont seem to notice. Theyre yelling at dogs

  • Banet

    I have it on pretty excellent authority that they will be endorsing a repair-in-place plan. That the goal is to bring the BQE down to two lanes of permanent traffic with a breakdown lane.

    By reducing the overall load from three lanes to two lanes the life of the existing cantilever will be extended.

    Since the BQE is already only two lanes in each direction as you approach from each direction (it narrows to 2 lanes at Tillary coming from the north. Can’t recall from the south) it really shouldn’t create any long-term back-ups. And a breakdown lane might even help avoid backups.

    Of course, the lane shifts required for repair-in-place construction will probably epic backups in each direction for years to come.

  • A Neighbor

    The head of the panel has assured
    the BHA that the Promenade-level 6-lane highway is off the table.

  • Jorale-man

    If that’s the case, well, it was a nice neighborhood while it lasted.

  • Banet

    No matter WHAT they do it’ll be massively disruptive for upwards of a decade. :-/

  • Reggie

    That’s what I am hearing as well; repair-in-place and lane reductions paired with measures to reduce traffic volume, in particular truck traffic.

  • CassieVonMontague

    They are putting up some orange framing on a roof outside my window. I guess it has something to do with Landmark sightlines. Is there somewhere I can look up the Landmarks application, or follow Landmarks applications generally?

  • Cranberry Beret

    The eastbound (Queens direction) has 3 lanes running the full length of the Cobble Hill trench and all the way past the cantilever to the Brooklyn Bridge ramp. (Two lanes from the Gowanus Exp’y merge with one lane on-ramp from Hamilton Ave.) I’m all for reducing lanes and eliminating the induced demand, but I think the argument (“it’s already 2 lanes before the cantilever”) only works for westbound.

    The real solution to reduce volume on the cantilever needs to be political, not engineering — changing the toll/free dynamic between the Battery Tunnel and Brooklyn Bridge so more of the traffic from the south flows through the tunnel instead of heading over the cantilever toward the bridge.

  • Banet

    Took less than 5 seconds to google “nyc landmarks applications” and land here:

  • CassieVonMontague

    Thank you for your 5 seconds on google. If you take 10 seconds, is there a place for application drawings/plans? Permits leave so much to the imagination.

  • Cranberry Beret

    No. You need to make an appointment in advance to visit the landmarks office in person and view the application on paper. Not a very transparent system.

    You can get a little more (but usually not much) info if you look up the address on the Department of Buildings website.

  • Brixtony

    That’s crazy. I suggest taking pictures and contacting the Parks Dept or 311 or even 911. I’m mostly there in the late afternoon when it’s relatively empty.

  • duckman

    So all those nice drawings of a park with a tunnel along Furman and walkways on the BH section of the BQE were all fantasy, right? I figured as much as the work going on in the waterfront went on without a pause.

  • Taq Man

    Isn’t what you are describing basically the same as the lane-by lane traditional plan that was rejected by DOT because it would have led to more traffic in BH and surrounding neighborhoods.

  • Mike Suko

    A few thoughts. To make the change re lanes DOES require a vote by non-NYC folks – not sure if it’s Albany or D.C. (am thinking the latter because it’s part of the interstate network.) Either forum is more vulnerable to lobbying from both “drivers” and trucking. Obviously, diBlasio has more enemies than friends outside NYC.

    2) This is a rock & hard place situation. In the AM, “zillions” will exit onto Atl. Ave. because GPS is gonna tell them that a hard left “at the jail” will get them into Manhattan faster. NOT FAST, mind you. And then some will try Hicks or Clinton, because both Boerum Pl. and that turn off Atlantic will be hellish.

    3) They HAVE to say something about the BIG plan – a dismissive “too expensive, too disruptive” will get challenged, I predict, because the DOT got one thing right – it’s one thing to repair in place on the subways ON WEEKENDS. 10 years of a band-aid that can’t even be changed – and with big heavy trucks – is almost as ugly as running the traffic where the Prom. now is.

    4) Yes, tolling those bridges has GOT to be done, but too many “new Dems in Albany” are from NYC suburbs. A ray of hope – yes, the existing tunnel route is pricey, but so is an extra hour or more each trip.

    5) The City Council study will be rushed to release, and you can bet it will be more “radical.” If Corey J. gets to mayor-in-waiting status – a big IF – it could get (even more) interesting.

  • Mike Suko

    I know that’s supposed to be witty & snappy, but … the nabe will “just” be a little less pleasant 4 or 5 commuting hours weekdays, and that only if you have your windows open or need to be on the streets at that time. Think of it as just a “worse” version of the weekend subway nightmare – and lasting a lot longer.

  • Jorale-man

    My hunch is the tunnel plans are simply too visionary, too “experimental,” for most NYC politicians to get behind, especially de Blasio, who has little interest in being a leader in infrastructure and urban planning. Yes, there were some serious practical hurdles (the MTA subway vents, sewer lines under Fulton), but those could probably be overcome. Maybe we’ll be pleasantly surprised but I think you’re right about the current park construction as being a telltale sign.

  • Banet

    The fundamental difference is that they feel there are two changes coming/in the works that will reduce overall volume.

    The first is Congestion Pricing for Manhattan which arrives January 1, 2021. This will not only cut down on overall traffic but also likely route some traffic through the Battery Tunnel as there’s better toll equity. They may even re-toll the tunnel to create equity.

    The second is a retolling of the Verrazanno which will reroute a good bit of truck traffic up north through Jersey.

    While the actually repair will be a painful process, and while I’d LOVE a buried roadway on top of Furman street there are 2 large challenges with that approach:

    1. A massive sewer line is directly under Furman. The city needs access to that sewer on occasion. Putting an interstate on top of it is challenging.

    2. A “covered” BQE on top of Furman would require 360 Furman (1 Brooklyn Bridge) to completely reconstruct their lobby up one story. It’s doable. And the end result would be a MUCH more desirable building for them. But it’s expensive and disruptive and they’re apparently quite set against it..
    (BTW, I’m not sure if a covered BQE would be 2 lanes or 3 in each direction.)

  • Jorale-man

    I was responding to a commenter who had claimed to have knowledge that the Promenade 6-lane highway plan was going forward after all. His/her comment has since been deleted, as you see.

    I don’t think the piecemeal construction approach would be nearly as destructive as the 6-lane highway (though I personally prefer one of the plans to bury the BQE underneath the park).

  • Mike Suko

    First, do you have any idea what a big number $10 Billion is? (That’s a lot closer to what this project WILL COST than many realize.)

    Moving even a “very big” sewer line – Manhattanites know what “had to be done” about bringing water in from the Catskills over the last 20 years – is like the demo in a home renovation – eye-catching but not much more.

    But a “Furman Street” makeover IS severely flawed – as you note – while the plan dubbed “BQPark” saves money & leads to a far better end product.

  • Banet

    I’m not sure what point you’re trying to make… are you in favor of the BIG Architecture plan? I certainly am. I think it’s a GREAT idea. I just don’t think we have a Mayor with enough vision or a Commissioner with the bull-headedness of Robert Moses to make it happen. :-/

  • Andrew Porter

    This morning (Friday) I heard a report on WCBS News Radio 88 about the problems with subway elevators that mentioned Clark Street and the failing elevators there

  • Mike Suko

    Yes, I am in favor of that plan. I’ll edit above to make that clearer.
    Remember, Bill is already a lame duck, and this decision really isn’t his to make – and he’s got ltd “courage” and even less “vision.”
    But others may view this as their “High Line” or whatever. Yes, the BIG plan’s savings were guesstimated vis a vis the DOT plan, with its “measure once, build it twice.” But as they specced it out, it actually generates income in perpetutity and not really Pierhouse style.
    I missed the Thansgiving Day press release putting 12 organizations spanning several nabes on the same page, and that means there are plenty of voters and campaign contributors in the mix.
    Eric Adams is a good guy, I think, and this might be HIS ticket to higher office.
    NYC has had a very good 10 years, and the most telling argument pro-BIG is that only an idiot thinks an in-place cantilever fix will hold up.

  • Taq Man

    Thanks. What about the City Council’s role in this.

    “I’m very excited Arup has agreed to work with the Council to ensure that we don’t just rebuild a highway but look at our transportation infrastructure in a holistic way,” said City Council Speaker Corey Johnson.”

  • Mike Suko

    Very neat interview of Spkr CJ by someone I think owns or is a key employee of the Bklyn Paper. Focuses on cars & the reality that some people almost surely NEED them. [Canarsie ?] And that’s where the BQE comes in. I’m no lover of cars and their byproducts, but I don’t imagine too many deliveries are made to Key Food by any other means – and most such vehicles came on the BQE … and if they couldn’t, it’s not clear whether the alternatives would be viable – much less “superior.”

  • Mike Suko

    I’ve said it before – I truly love that park and recognize that it WAS a signal accomplishment in an era when waterfronts are among the MOST attractive place to put luxury housing. (And yes, there’s more of that in BBP than any Dem. Mayor would have accepted.)

    But people talk about the park like it’s the State Legislature – which really DOES have a veto over lots of “local” matters.

    If the choice comes down to – EITHER the park will have to “give a little” (land, really) or 3 or 4 downtown neighborhoods and all the businesses and people in them (AND drivers & truckers, too, by virtue of an uglier “solution”) will have to give … a little,

    I think there’s room for a Mayoral candidate to “step up!” (I’m not talking about equity here … as much as smart politics, although both apply.)

    Remember, the Park doesn’t vote and it doesn’t have to worry about how smart its expenditures are – their bridge proves the latter. Putting in a big new berm doesn’t amount to a hill of beans vis a vis a $10B construction project.

    If Bill lacks imagination, it gives Andy a chance to do something good for NYC for the first time in his life. BBP’s leadership are HIS people, don’t forget.

    Yes, an underground highway faces an uphill struggle, but so did B.H. NOT being bifurcated like CH and CG – when the cantilever got built. Folks like the 2 just above, given to a mix of cynicism & defeatism, alas, make the fight harder! In the spirit of the winning “Let’s Get Brexit Done” I nominate “Why Not The Best?” (Acres of new park, a highway NOT polluting or dividing multiple nabes, a highway not prone to collapse – this goes way beyond “pretty” – it’s Reconstruction – and NYC deserves no less!) That it’s comparable in cost, less likely to fail & likely would finish sooner ought to seal the deal.