Here’s another way to muffle the noisy Brooklyn-Queens Expressway as it roars past the proposed Brooklyn Bridge Park development — instead of 30-foot mini-mountains, a Brooklyn Heights architect proposes a solar-panel-covered envelope to encase the highway.
The proposal calls for wrapping the BQE’s triple cantilever in translucent acrylic shells to suppress roadways sounds, allowing the builders of the open space component of the ailing waterfront development to eliminate the planned sound-stifling hills.
“This will be much more effective than berms,” said architect Donald Rattner of the Studio for Civil Architecture, which is pushing for the so-called “Brooklyn Bridge Connector” — which would cost between $8 and $10 million, and could qualify for federal stimulus dollars.
“The top of the berm is not high enough to really block the noise, and in the places where the berm will be interrupted by buildings, sound will come in,” added Rattner, who claims that his proposal would reduce current BQE noise from 85 decibels to 65 decibels — five decibels quieter than the reported noise-stopping berms.
The Joralemon Street resident also claims that his three-tiered tunnel — which would be layered on the inside with sound-absorbing materials, and on the outside with glow-in-the-dark photovoltaic cells — would allow for better views from the Promenade and more light to reach Furman Street.
But whether the project is totally tubular or just a case of tunnel vision is up to the State Department of Transportation, which has promised to repair the triple cantilever between Atlantic Avenue and the Brooklyn Bridge without affecting the Brooklyn Bridge Park development.
The agency will have a chance to examine how the “Brooklyn Bridge Connector” fits in with its difficult renovation project when the public scoping process begins in the next two months.
“During that time, we will welcome any suggestions from the community and any other interested parties that may produce mutual benefits for the users of the roadway and the users of the park,” said spokesman Adam Levine. “I cannot comment on a specific suggestion [now].”
Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy Acting Executive Director Nancy Webster said that she was eager to hear about sound-stifling proposals — but she disagreed with the calls to eliminate the berms.
“The berms provide more than sound attenuation,” she said “They also will enhance the park experience by adding visual and topographical interest to the site, providing a variety of pathways and plantings, particularly shade trees, that will help provide protection from wind and sun.”
The “Brooklyn Bridge Connector” proposal can be seen at www.brooklynbridgeconnector.net — but visitors should turn down their computer speakers before surfing to the Web site, which features a loud sound loop of actual BQE noise (no, really).
©2009 Community News Group
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