BQE Plan Preserves Existing Highway with Lane Reduction and Repairs

CBS Local reports that “Mayor Bill de Blasio and officials” have announced the long awaited plan for the Brooklyn Queens Expressway. The plan would shrink the highway from three to two lanes in each direction, which is projected to reduce traffic volume by eleven percent. Resurfacing and waterproofing of the cantilever structure would make it safe for another twenty years. The Mayor also said there is an “overarching plan” that “involves limiting oversize trucks, using waterways to transport freight, and more.”

Update: Thanks to reader Andrew Porter, here’s a link to the Mayor’s press release, which gives more detail.

Second Update: Here’s the Brooklyn Heights Association’s statement on the BQE plan:

“Across the nation, the destructive effects of urban highways are being recognized and addressed. The transformation of the BQE, one of New York City’s most decrepit and polluting transportation corridors, is of critical importance to the future of our city. The Coalition for the BQE Transformation (BQET) applauds the immediate measures which DOT is taking to ensure the safety of the Triple Cantilever because this plan buys New Yorkers time to develop a truly visionary solution to what has been a political hot potato for more than twenty years. But the planning to reverse the negative environmental, economic, and public health impacts of the BQE must begin now, and we will hold the city to its commitment to move forward immediately with structured and substantive engagement with all the communities along the BQE corridor. The BQET looks forward to working closely with DOT during this interim repair process to accommodate a host of near-term pollution, environmental, safety, and connectivity improvements. Today’s announcement is an important step in the right direction.”

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  • Nomcebo Manzini

    I wonder if they moved up the announcement from the Friday before Labor Day to NOW … because fewer people will read it or give it any thought – what with the news from Albany making it seem less significant.

    But I think it’s fitting that it comes near the end of deBlasio’s awful 8 years. What does he do in connection with a crisis – could only be worse if there were fatalities?!

    He kicks the can down the road … and lies to everyone in NYC and the rest of the world that business as usual can proceed for the next 20 years.

    And it gets worse. He admits that he needs Cuomo’s signature on a bill passed. Repeat. Bill NEEDS Andy’s help!!

    Is today’s announcement supposed to put pressure on the Guv?

  • disqus_NCsPYOIlUl

    As suspected, it hasn’t hurt that local resident Hank Gutman was appointed Transportation Commissioner a few months back.

  • Bornhere

    Oh, my—”cargo bikes” will save the day, I guess. Lots and lots and lots of cargo bikes. And I may have missed the assurance, but I don’t see anything about actions to be taken to ensure that the residential streets in the Heights will not be affected.

  • Nomcebo Manzini

    Well, I’m not sure Waze or some other driving app lets you do what-ifs…. It could be that Bay Ridge-Wall Street or even midtown will now make using the Hugh Carey Tunnel sensible, unless the tolls would kill you. And for all that it’s likely that quite a few will exit at Atlantic in the early days of 2 lane, I wonder if that will actually save them time. Sure would help “us” if there were a traffic officer or 2 sensibly positioned, but I’m not sure they have the authority to ticket a speeder.

    Last, I wonder what the laws are re impounding a truck if its operator/owner doesn’t blink if/when they’re fined on a daily basis. Wonder if the Brooklyn D.A. (is it terrible that I know not who) wants to get some headlines by playing rough with people who are un-impressed by “Big trucks are hastening the day when the BQE collapses.”

  • Arch Stanton

    It figures de Blas-a-hole would come with the worst plan imaginable. Cut the capacity by 33% and hope for an 11% reduction in traffic?

  • Nomcebo Manzini

    I cannot figure why a couple of electeds close to us (Ms. Simon was one) and the BHA/BQET would be purring over this.

    The Mayor is beneath contempt and has been for 6 years, but the NYC DOT is simply the pits. I’m sure they have a few capable engineers, but the last leader went along with the “promenade proposal,” and Mr. Gutman went along with this latest attempt to put lipstick on a pig.

    Stirring words “We will hold the city to its commitment to move forward immediately with structured and substantive engagement with all the communities along the BQE corridor.”

    Good luck with that, as they say.

    Surely, “kicking the can down the road” demands push-back, not a response rooted in wishful thinking.

    And as others have said here and elsewhere, Brooklyn Heights IS being singled out (understandably) in terms of immediate action. YOU KNOW that our local streets will be impacted. Surely, the DOT should be PLANNING beyond buying some new cones and barriers. On recent and past form, they are NOT, however, and we’ll have chaos. Anyone reading this should be able to visualize the tens of thousands of cars approaching Atlantic Avenue on the BQE from the south during the A.M. rush hour. They’ll be slowing down and backing up long before Union Street. WHAT WILL THE DRIVERS DO? Where will they go?

    I remember hearing long ago about the impossibility of putting a large quantity of excrement in bags capable of holding much less. There’s a perfectly comparable situation here!

    And air quality may be an even bigger problem. Those “sensors” sound great, although they probably cost (with installation) hundreds of millions of dollars, and we’re probably their “beta test” site. How about budgeting for ducting to keep the thousands of hours of 5 mph (or just idling) traffic from making B.H. an asthma hot spot?

  • aeshtron

    Please put tolls on all bridges/tunnels into Manhattan!

    While idling/slow-moving vehicles do cause asthma inducing air pollution, they are less dangerous to pedestrians/unicyclists/etc than faster moving vehicles. I’ll take slow death by respiratory disease over quick death in a crash.

    Business-as-usual kicking-the-can is normal human behavior.

  • Chuck
  • Nomcebo Manzini

    Huh? … If, as I believe is true, he lives in Pierhouse, this “plan” is not in HIS best interest. And while less awful than the promenade proposal – that makes “New Coke” look genius – this fix feels like “payback” for the Heights getting preferential treatment in Moses’ time. That is, Cobble Hill won’t take the big quality of life hit that the Heights will sustain.

  • Arch Stanton

    I rode a bicycle for 50+ years in NYC even as a messenger, in a time before bike lanes and when the pedestrian death rate was tenfold what it is now. Bottom line: Watch where you are going, always leave yourself an out and you won’t get hit by a car. Now I cannot ride anymore due to Asthma. So be carful what you wish for…

  • TeddyNYC

    Kicking the can down the road again…until that road crumbles.

  • JT

    I mean, it’s pretty much crumbling now. Any more can kicking and it’s going to be a pile of debris.