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.
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Image: Wikimedia cc.
A report released today by civic think tank Regional Plan Organization highlights options for the impending Brooklyn-Queens Expressway reconstruction that would appear to upend conventional highway reconstruction policy. The new report suggests that the DOT could actually reduce the number of lanes needed when redesigning the expressway’s 1.5-mile “Triple Cantilever” under the historic Brooklyn Heights Promenade, in addition to looking at congestion pricing, HOV restrictions and two-way tolling for the Verrazano Bridge. The demand management policies outlined contain both immediate benefits–like eliminating the need to block access to the historic Brooklyn Heights Promenade–and long-term rewards like reducing pollution.
Fewer highways, less traffic?
Rendering by Kameny Design and Taylor Davenport, courtesy of Mark Baker
A longtime Brooklyn resident is offering his own innovative solution to fix the Brooklyn Queens Expressway. Mark Baker’s proposal involves transforming the BQE’s triple cantilever into the “Tri-Line,” a three-tiered park that extends from Brooklyn Bridge Park. Modeled after Manhattan’s High Line, the Tri-Line parks would measure 1,880 feet long and include gardens, seating, walking paths, and bike lanes. As the Brooklyn Eagle reported, cars and trucks would be rerouted along a new highway on Furman Street, preserving the Brooklyn Heights Promenade and adding eight acres of park space in the process.
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Adding another perspective to the many voices who are seeking a solution to the “most challenging project not only in New York City but arguably in the United States,” City Comptroller Scott Stringer has outlined his own proposal to save the crumbling BQE, advocating for a middle-ground solution to the heated debate. Stringer’s idea (notably without a timeline or proposed budget) is to turn the BQE into a truck-only highway and build a linear park above. “We remain hopeful that the agency can view the BQE’s deterioration not just as an engineering challenge, but as an opportunity to create something new and bold that both accommodates essential traffic and enhances surrounding neighborhoods,” he wrote in a March 7 letter to Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg.
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Rendering courtesy of A Better Way NYC
One of the city’s plans to rehabilitate a 1.5 mile stretch of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE) includes building an elevated highway next to the Brooklyn Heights Promenade. But opponents of the repair plan, which requires the pedestrian promenade to close during construction, say the roadway would block views of the Manhattan skyline. Renderings created for activist group A Better Way NYC shows how an overpass would block sweeping views of the city, as the New York Post reported.
, Fri, September 21, 2018
Brooklyn Heights Promenade via Wikimedia
The Brooklyn Heights Promenade could close for six years while the city rehabilitates a 1.5 mile stretch of the crumbling Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE), transportation officials announced Thursday. According to Politico, the city’s transportation department unveiled two plans for revamping the Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO section of the BQE, which supports the promenade. The options include a quicker, six-year plan to divert cars to an elevated highway next to the Promenade or replace the BQE lane by lane, which could take up to eight years.
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When it was built in the 1940s, the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway became immediately notorious for the fact that Robert Moses planned it to rip through otherwise quiet, low-scale neighborhoods. Today, it’s poor reputation has more to do with potholes, bumps, congestion, and pollution. But that will soon change, as the city is embarking on a five-year rehab of the heavily trafficked, 1.5-mile stretch of the highway that runs between Atlantic Avenue and Sands Street in Brooklyn and includes “21 concrete-and-steel bridges over local roads,” according to the Times. And at $1.7 billion, it will be the Department of Transportation’s most expensive project ever undertaken.
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NYC-based design firm Buro Koray Duman has come up with a series of plans to use the under-utilized space beneath the BQE in a site near Sunset Park‘s Industry City, the massive waterfront industrial complex which itself has recently experienced a renaissance as a hub for designers and local manufacturers. The elevated highway separates Industry City from the rest of the neighborhood, and the proposed uses would connect the space beneath with the creative and commercial energy of the complex. According to Dezeen, the firm saw an opportunity to put the empty sub-highway space to good use and add “more color and convenience to the city’s daily life.”
Find out more about the two ideas for the under-highway space
If you have even the slightest interest in architecture, urban planning, and NYC history, you know Robert Moses. Unforgettably profiled as the “Power Broker” by Robert Caro, Moses was the “master builder” of mid-20th century New York and its environs. He was a larger-than-life character who had very set ways of approaching urban design. He advocated for highways over public transportation (he built 13 expressways through NYC), dense housing towers over low-scale neighborhoods, and communities segregated by race and class over organic, mixed-demographic areas. Of course, there are plenty of much-loved aspects of the city that also came from Moses–Jones Beach, the United Nations, and ten public swimming pools like the one in McCarren Park.
Regardless of your feelings on Robert Moses, though, we can all agree that the city would not be the same without him. But a lot has changed since he lost his post as director of the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority in the mid 1960s and even more so since he passed away in 1981. So we can’t help but wonder what he would think of our fair city in 2015. To have a little fun, we planned a present-day tour for the ghost of Robert Moses.
See where we’d take the Power Broker here
I sat under a canopy of blue sky on the elevated platform of the Sutter Avenue stop in Brownsville, Brooklyn. I like elevated subway stations because they’re, you know, elevated as opposed to that subterranean scene that transpires underground. What I wasn’t liking so much that particular day, high above the busy avenue, was the way the platform slightly vibrated with each passing vehicle below. It was somewhat unsettling. And then the ground really started to shake, so much so that I looked to the distance to see if Godzilla bore down on Brooklyn, smashing cars and pounding through buildings, breathing fire and squawking that awful squawk. But it was only the 3 Train rattling in from East New York. The platform continued to shake more and more until the train, thankfully, came to a stop. I got on board, but I wasn’t all that happy about it.
And then I started to think about my dog.
Andrew, on cue from his dog, questions the physical stability of NYC