The only thing worse than being stuck on the Brooklyn–Queens Expressway is being stuck living next to it — and now it’s inspired its own blog!
Werner Cohn, who lives on Hicks Street between Amity and Congress streets overlooking six-lanes of BQE chaos in Cobble Hill, has declared (online) war against the commuting crimes he sees out his living room window.
“The truth is, this highway was built before they knew how to build highways,” said the 81-year-old retired sociologist, who blogs at bqewatch.blogspot.com. The Web site’s subtitle is “Fatalities Waiting to Happen.”
Cohn, who also blogs about another neighbor, Long Island College Hospital, is not merely venting. His goal, he says, is prevention.
“Are we going to wait for something terrible to happen to do something about it? I’ll be minding my own business in the house. Then all of a sudden, I’ll hear emergency vehicles, police and sirens, and I look out and boom, there was an accident.”
In the last month, Cohn claims to have seen five such crashes within the half-mile of road that surrounds the very tricky Congress Street entrance. The frequency of the accidents vexes him. Now, however, he believes he has stumbled onto a fast fix: a true acceleration lane.
“The way it is now, I don’t use that entrance. Friends of mine don’t use that entrance. This will make it a lot safer,” he said.
Cohn believes that the state Department of Transportation may like the idea, described in a sketch posted on his blog.
“It’s an affordable way to solve a dangerous intersection,” he said.
Already the blog has gotten people talking. In response to letters from Cohn and Assemblywoman Joan Millman (D–Cobble Hill), a spokesman for the state DOT promised the agency would study improving the entrance. State engineers plan to install an advisory sign warning drivers to slow down as they approach the route’s curve, and new lane markings, the spokesman said.
The white-haired blogger learned about virtual activism from his son, architect Jonathan Cohn, who writes about Atlantic Yards and other development at brooklynviews.blogspot.com.
This tree finally took notice of its apple.
“I didn’t understand what he was doing all the time with the computer until I started to do it, too,” he said.