As Streetsblog reports, that’s what Carlo Scissura, former head of the Mayor’s panel that considered options for repairing or replacing the crumbling Brooklyn Queens Expressway and that, to the relief of many Brooklyn Heights residents, killed the Department of Transportation’s proposal to repair the cantilevered portion below the Heights while replacing it with a “temporary” six lane highway occupying the site of the Promenade, has now suggested. According to Streetsblog:
“This highway stinks; it’s decrepit, and it has destroyed many communities,” Scissura told business leaders at a Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce breakfast. “I am saying, get rid of it, start from scratch!”
What options might be available? A tunnel has, as we’ve noted here before, serious engineering problems, including the difficulty of providing access for traffic to and from the Brooklyn Bridge. Also, tunnel construction could have serious adverse affects on quality of life in the Heights and other nearby neighborhoods. Another suggestion is to replace it with a boulevard – a surface level multi lane street with traffic lights at intersections, as was done when the elevated West Side Highway in Manhattan was demolished. This raises the question of where such a boulevard could be sited, and the answer to that, wherever it may be, is likely to arouse much community opposition based on pedestrian safety and emissions issues arising from increased traffic.
The question of demolishing the existing cantilevered portion of the BQE also raises questions. From a Heights perspective, how will it affect the Promenade, which is part of the cantilevered structure? Because that structure as a whole is deteriorating, it will be necessary to shore up the Promenade by one means or another. One possibility is to go ahead with repairing the whole cantilevered structure, but to replace the existing roadways with something else, like gardens.
Despite all these issues, I’m glad that the availability of funds for infrastructure has opened the possibility of “rethinking” the BQE.