Rendering courtesy of Bjarke Ingels Group
The latest proposal to fix the crumbling BQE comes from Bjarke Ingels Group, who unveiled their plan to a crowd of 1,000 at a town hall meeting hosted by the Brooklyn Heights Association and advocacy group A Better Way last night. Dubbed the BQP—with the P standing for Park—the firm wants to build a new, six-lane highway that would be topped by a public park, saving the promenade and expanding Brooklyn Bridge Park by more than 10 acres. The proposal comes on the heels of Mayor de Blasio hitting the brakes on a $3 billion DOT plan and instead convening a “panel of experts” to determine the best path forward.
Renderings courtesy of Bjarke Ingels Group
The BQP proposal turns the existing Furman Street into a six-lane highway which would be decked over. Above, a multi-tier, sloped park will connect to the current level of the top tier of the existing BQE, and gradually slope down to the waterfront. “The result is a condition more reminiscent of Brooklyn Heights historical conditions – where city and river interlaced seamlessly, prior to construction of the highway,” explains a project description by the firm.
BIG’s plan offers two scenarios: to repair the BQE’s existing triple-cantilever structure and turn it into a linear park connecting to the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, or to replace it with infrastructure ready to support a variety of uses, including the possibility of housing or retail, or more parkland.
BIG has been working on the plan pro-bono for the past month and a half and the team believes their plan will be both quicker and cheaper than the DOT’s. “The simple structural approach, and one-time construction of the new roadway, create a more feasible and less costly solution for reconstruction of the BQE, while delivering far more benefits to the community,” their project description explains.
Attendees last night broke out into applause several times during BIG’s presentation, as Brownstoner reports. Speaker Corey Johnson, who was also in attendance, said that the City Council would be hiring an independent firm to look at all the proposals. “How we rebuild the BQE will say a lot about how we think people should move around our city in the 21st century,” he said.
Also yesterday, Mayor de Blasio separately announced that he will be putting together his own panel of business and construction leaders, architects, and engineers to advise on the best steps forward for the BQE revamp. As Crain’s noted, this decision is not unlike Governor Cuomo’s decision last year to put the brakes on existing plans to close and repair the L-train tunnel and instead convene a panel of professors to come up with an alternative course of action.
“The BQE is a lifeline for Brooklyn and the entire city—which is why we are bringing in a panel of nationally renowned experts from a range of fields to vet all ideas and make sure we get this right,” de Blasio said in a statement. “We will be engaging in a transparent, collaborative process to find the best solution for one of the most critical transportation corridors in the nation.”
Their findings are expected this summer.
- RPA report for BQE redesign includes ideas for sparing Brooklyn Heights Promenade
- New proposal turns the BQE’s triple cantilever into a three-level linear park
- NYC Comptroller proposes turning the BQE into a truck-only roadway with a park on top