Mayor Responds to BQE Panel: Enforce Heavy Truck Ban, but Don’t Reduce Lanes

Anna Sanders in the Daily News reports that Mayor Bill de Blasio has responded to the recommendations included in the report just issued by the expert panel that he appointed to study options for the rehabilitation of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. The Mayor said an existing ban on trucks weighing over 80,000 pounds will be immediately and strictly enforced. He disagrees, however, with the panel’s recommendation that traffic on the affected cantilevered portion of the BQE below Brooklyn Heights be limited to two lanes in each direction, with the existing inner lanes serving as shoulders. While the panel’s report argues that providing shoulders will reduce the “worst case” delays resulting from accidents and disabled vehicles, which often cause diversion of traffic to local streets, the Mayor, on the Brian Lehrer show, called lane reduction “a guarantee of traffic jams and … of other problems.”

The Mayor said that work to stabilize the affected portion of the BQE should start this spring.  This work will likely require weekend closures to traffic. Ms. Sanders’ Daily News story concludes, “Exactly how those  repairs would impact the promenade is unclear.”

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  • Proto Plano

    The mayor is clueless and should pick up the phone and speak to any urban planner or road engineer. They will tell him that reducing demand reduces traffic and congestion. A phenomena that is the opposite of another widely accepted view, that increasing roads and road capacity does not reduce traffic but increase demand and congestion. All to the chagrin of Robert Moses.

  • A Neighbor

    Hear, hear

  • Nomcebo Manzini

    sounds like he or his PR person may have “walked that back” on Friday afternoon…. Don’t want BHB to get a “fake news” reputation, of course.

    BTW – as to the substance of his “query” – and some strident responses on this blog, … I honestly don’t know. It’s seductive to believe that fewer lanes WOULD translate into reduced volume, and it may be right.

    But this is one of those wonky areas where you wouldn’t expect anybody posting here to have much more than the gist of something they read somewhere to go on – and go on about!

    And long-run impact may be very different from short-run.

    I don’t think our infrastructure or our population – certainly not truckers – are going to win any prizes for adaptiveness. Sure, as with a snowstorm, for a few days, any major change like going from 3 lanes to 2 on a highway WILL have an impact. But – as someone on this blog put it well – we are NOT talking about “going for a fun drive.” These are folks almost all of them already weighing the cost (time & tolls, mostly) of getting somewhere as they make a living…. And I’ve come to believe that some of our poisoned atmosphere really does stem from resentment that “government knows best.” (EVEN – maybe, ESPECIALLY – when it DOES!)

    Plain English – If Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn and Queens vote “as a bloc,” in line with their preference for cars … and some “good government types” pine for a Bloomberg rather than diBlasio, Adams or Stringer, we could again have a RUDY as Mayor. Traffic doesn’t have any axioms half as certain as “for every action, there’s an equal and opposite reaction.” Be careful what you wish for, Brooklyn Heights. A Republican Mayor might have the “gall” to insist on the promenade route if we fight too hard to make NYC even more unfriendly to autom. drivers.

    Mayor Bill knows this much, “Optics are more potent than a computer model cooked up by even bright engineers.”

  • Roberto Gautier

    The problem with “heavy” trucks is not limited to their weight and their vibrational impact on surrounding structures.
    The unaddressed, missing piece is the “heavy” respiratory pollution caused by diesel truck traffic on the BQE.
    These are issues that the DOT and the Mayor rarely stress.

  • Jorale-man

    Yes, it seems like he’s arrived at his conclusion rather quickly. Funny how he promotes himself as the great progressive, except when it comes to matters of urban planning. There, he’s stuck in the past like any card-carrying Republican.

  • Nomcebo Manzini

    Good point. I don’t think I’ve heard any “calls” for “healthier trucks,” and I fear that asking whoever uses 170,000 “beasts” to switch over to twice as many half as heavy vehicles will not be well received. Yes, getting the stuff to JFK may be their “first choice,” but there might come a time when the pushback gets high-volume. I mean, what if Whole Foods or CVS has already “supersized” in that regard?