Deck the halls with lots of housing

for The Brooklyn Paper

Residents of Carroll Gardens and Cobble Hill hailed a city plan that would build housing atop the nine-block-long Brooklyn-Queens Expressway trench that divides the neighborhoods from the Columbia Street waterfront.

The proposal is part of Mayor Bloomberg’s vision for a greener, more efficient, more crowded city, which he presented during an Earth Day speech at the Museum of Natural History on Sunday.

“[Decking it over] is a great idea, so long as we get [to add] some input and we’re sure that the housing is in harmony with our current stock,” said Buddy Scotto, the de facto Mayor of Carroll Gardens.

Scotto has lived in the neighborhood since before Robert Moses rammed the highway down the middle of Hicks Street, from Woodhull to Kane streets, in the 1950s.

“The BQE weakened the fabric of the Columbia street waterfront,” he said.

Scotto’s enthusiasm was seconded by Deborah Oddo, another old-timer, who said that even after all these years, she still “can’t take the noise.”

Back in August, a city consultant presented three possible ideas for the decking over the open-pit highway, ranging from a 200-unit, low-density rowhouse subdivision to a string of higher-density, 12-story buildings containing 1,500 units.

The pie-in-the-sky idea was given new life in the mayor’s Earth Day speech, which included 126 other green initiatives.

Overall, Bloomberg says the city must build 500,000 units of housing near public transportation by 2030 to make way for the expected one-million-person population boom.

“Our plan calls for doubling the amount of land available for possible housing development,” Hizzoner said in the Sunday speech. “We can do it by decking over railyards and highways, and using government land more productively.”

The proposal regarding the BQE was contained in the mayor’s so-called “PlanNYC” — a long-term blueprint for the city.

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