Via Wikimedia cc
The City Council is reconsidering an alternative solution for the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway that would tear down the crumbling highway and replace it with a three-mile-long tunnel, the New York Times reports. The council tapped engineering firm Arup to provide insight on the rehabilitation/replacement project last September and their findings are being released in a new report on Monday. According to the Times, the report says a tunnel option similar to what cities like Boston, San Francisco, and Seattle have done could cost as much as $11 billion.
The Brooklyn Queens Expressway (BQE) from the south end of the Brooklyn Promenade. Photo by Joe Mabel via Wikimedia
The 16-person panel that convened last April to assess reconstruction options for the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway’s 1.5-mile triple cantilever stretch has released its report. Their recommendations call for repair work to begin immediately and outline “aggressive traffic reduction strategies” like eliminating one lane in each direction (six lanes would become four) and imposing weight limits on vehicles. The panel also rejected the controversial proposal to build a temporary highway at the Brooklyn Heights Promenade during the reconstruction and said the Promenade should remain open.
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.
Get all the details
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.
See the proposal
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.
See the new plan
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.
Get the details
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.
More details ahead
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