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Dire straits! Gridlock Sam tells Brooklyn Paper Radio the BQE is an accident waiting to happen!

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Someone is going to have to die on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway before officials finally fix the collapsing elevated stretch under Brooklyn Heights.

That’s the tragic conclusion of none other than transportation expert — and former city official — Sam Schwartz, who expressed his frustration on Brooklyn Paper Radio on Monday afternoon.

“We thought we had solved this problem back in 2007, then the funding dried up. Now the city has put in a couple of million dollars to, hopefully, act soon before we do have a calamity on the BQE,” Schwartz told hosts Gersh Kuntzman and Vince DiMiceli during a broad-ranging discussion about the highway’s crumbling “triple cantilever” section that runs between Atlantic Avenue and the Brooklyn Bridge.

That portion of the highway was built by Robert Moses in the late 1940s, and was expected to last 50 years. The math, Kuntzman suggested, “means we’re out of time — though I don’t always do basic subtraction properly.”

Schwartz confirmed Kuntzman’s assessment.

“The repairs are long overdue,” he said. Schwartz raised the spectre of death by mentioning many people who have been killed due to infrastructure misadventure, including the victims of the Mianus River Bridge collapse in Connecticut, a death due to a snapped cable on the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Brooklyn dentist who was killed by falling concrete on the FDR drive in Manhattan in 1989.

“There’s your headline, Vince,” Kuntzman, editor emeritus of The Brooklyn Paper, told current boss DiMiceli. “I’ll write it for you, ‘Someone has to die!’ There, I did it.”

“It’s sad, but that does spark action,” Schwartz confirmed.

The transportation expert also discussed his support for a tweaked plan to put tolls on the four East River bridges, part of a larger scheme to reduce some other bridge tolls and dedicate some of the funds for road repair and get DiMiceli to work from Staten Island for just $3 a day — while ensuring the byways and highways he takes become self-sustaining and not dependent on tough-to-get federal dollars.

“We’ll take a quarter of the money and give it to roads and bridges,” he said. “We can’t depend on the feds anymore.”

After Schwartz, DiMiceli and Kuntzman grilled environmentalist Sarah Metz, who is moving forward with her plan to open a packaging-free supermarket called The Fillery. The store looks like it will open later this year in Prospect Heights, she said.

In a broad-ranging discussion, Metz astonished both Kuntzman and DiMiceli with her claim that she produces just one garbage can worth of trash per month. Kuntzman, himself an environmentalist who is producing a show this summer called “Murder at the Food Coop,” questioned how Metz could produce so little trash.

“You do use the toilet, right?” he asked. “Doesn’t that count?”

Metz confirmed that she did use such products as toilet paper, but DiMiceli said soiled material flushed down the loo should not be considered garbage.

DiMiceli claimed, in fact, that toilet contents simply disappear.

Metz pointed out that DiMiceli was wrong.

But hey, that’s Brooklyn Paper Radio — not always right, but never dull.

Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

boof from brooklyn says:
Hundreds of people die every year on NYC's streets and highways. What makes him think one more death would instigate any change?
March 28, 2016, 11:26 pm
Vooch from lower slope says:
toll the BQE to pay for upkeep; simple.

If the users refuse to pay a toll for basic upkeep, then it's time to remove the BQE.

Tens of thousands of homes were destroyed when Robert Moses ravaged the neighborhoods to create the atrocity known as the BQE.

Imagine the increased property values by removing the blight of the BQE

Imagine the hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who could have nice neighborhoods and housing built on the land now occupied by a motor sewer ?

Every city that has removed highways such as the BQE has seen yuugeee benefits.

If the users of the BQE refuse to pay for their use of the BQE via a modest $5 toll, then New Yorkers can remove this eyesore and restore the area .
March 29, 2016, 11:25 am
Pedro Valdez Rivera Jr. from Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, New York, United States says:
This isc one of many issues that shows how bad our national infrastructure is. I strongly recommended to everyone to click on the following link and watch a clip on the status of our own infrastructure from Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Wpzvaqypav8.
March 29, 2016, 12:11 pm
Rob from NY says:
In the meantime, shouldn't we be restricting motor vehicles to prevent a collapse?
March 29, 2016, 1:32 pm
Rufus Leaking from BH says:
The only problem with putting a toll on the BQE is that the politicians would steal the money like they do for the tolls on everything else, and the gas tax that is supposed to pay for the upkeep of the roads.
March 29, 2016, 1:53 pm
Guest from NYC says:
Rufus, the gas tax hasn't risen in decades and the money could be earmarked/lockboxed.

I'm all for the MoveNY plan before our driving commutes double in travel time, lines form outside subway stations, and further delays ruin everyone's quality of life.
March 29, 2016, 2:01 pm
Rufus Leaking from BH says:
Could be, but it isn't - it's just money in the trough for the piggies.
March 29, 2016, 2:12 pm
Ace from Bath Beach says:
Tear it down! Owning and operating a private automobile in New York City should be as odious as possible.
March 29, 2016, 2:35 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I hate to break this to some of you, but I highly doubt that the options for tearing down or placing tolls on the BQE just aren't happening. The only thing tearing down this highway would lead to would be much more traffic on local roads especially with commercial vehicles. This is why the anti-car fanatics lost with their attempt to tear down the Sheridan Expressway over in The Bronx. Tolls won't work either because many claim that there are enough tolls already especially in the way that they are barely going to where they are supposed to be thanks to certain politicians, and many fear the same will happen if more are placed. For the record, the BQE is an interstate highway, which happens to be federally funded meaning that the entire is country is actually paying for this, not just locals only. Seriously, I'm really getting annoyed by those who feel that the only way to help the car culture is to give them whatever defines the royal screw job. As much as some of you hate the car culture, it isn't going away anytime soon just like the WNBA. Unfortunately, there are still a group of people that need to get around by driving, so keeping this highway in good shape by fixing it is the only way to go.
March 29, 2016, 4:35 pm
Josh from Coney Island says:
The BQE needs to be wider more lanes to move the heavy traffic. A Expressway over Atlantic Ave should be built connecting to the Jackie Robinson Pkwy. If any of your hipsters don't like it you can all move back to where you came from.
March 29, 2016, 6:05 pm
Pedro Valdez Rivera Jr. from Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn says:
By the end of day Tal, besides MOVE NY, big tax hikes or even massive fare and toll hikes, in which both Governor Cuomo and the majority of the State Legislature are either skeptical or opposed, do you have a better idealistic and realistic funding source to fund the roads, bridges and mass transit in NYS by April Fool's Day?
March 29, 2016, 6:17 pm
ty from pps says:
we could tax bicycles to pay for it.
March 29, 2016, 9:59 pm

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