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Pick a lane: Transit honchos claim construction of mayor’s BQX trolley will impede BQE repairs

BQX versus BQE: Transportation-agency officials overseeing repairs to the crumbling Brooklyn–Queens Expressway demanded Mayor DeBlasio hold off on his plan for a Brooklyn–Queens light rail because work on the two massive infrastructure projects will likely overlap, overwhelming neighborhoods including Brooklyn Heights with increased construction and traffic.
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There’s an internal battle brewing over the BQE and BQX.

Transit honchos in charge of fixing the dilapidated Brooklyn–Queens Expressway want the mayor to hit the brakes on his controversial $2.5-billion streetcar plan because the two massive infrastructure projects will butt heads.

The Department of Transportation must repair the 1.5-mile stretch of the decrepit roadway between Atlantic Avenue and Sands Street in Brooklyn Heights before the triple cantilever — which runs beneath the neighborhood’s promenade and above Furman Street — crumbles beneath the weight of the thousands of big-rigs that rumble across it daily.

But Hizzoner’s plan to lay 14 miles of light-rail tracks from Sunset Park to the outer borough of Queens that would run along streets in Red Hook, Fort Greene, Dumbo, and Brooklyn Heights, including on Atlantic Avenue, will impact the city’s work on the expressway and cause even more chaos on the local thoroughfares, according to the city’s Deputy Commissioner of Bridges.

“I had a conversation with somebody who was working on the BQX. They are thinking about it going down Atlantic Avenue and across Columbia [Street], and I said ‘Look, we’re going to be there, I don’t think it’s a good idea,’ ” Bob Collyer said during a public meeting about repairs to the expressway’s triple cantilever on Dec. 11. “That’s as far as we got.”

Work on the two multi-billion-dollar projects would likely overlap. The city hopes to begin laying tracks for the Sunset Park-to-Queens people mover in 2019 to have it shuttling passengers by 2024. And transit officials intend to open up the triple cantilever for renovations by 2021 and end the job by 2026 if the state green-lights a process to streamline design and construction, otherwise work would begin around 2024 and wrap sometime after 2028.

Another transportation honcho said her team would try to work with leaders in charge of the Brooklyn Queens Connector’s creation to ensure smooth construction should the two be built simultaneously.

“We’re in touch with them, we will coordinate with them,” said Tanvi Pandya, a project manager overseeing the expressway’s repairs.

DeBlasio first pitched the taxpayer-funded trolley — which is supported by the private advocacy group Friends of the Brooklyn Queens Connector, Dumbo-based developer Two Trees, and other real-estate companies — in 2016 because he said it would bring transportation to subway-starved communities along the waterfront.

But many residents and local leaders claimed the streetcar — a joint effort overseen by the city’s transportation department and Economic Development Corporation — would do more harm than good by accelerating development and gentrification in the nabes it will serve, many of which are home to thousands of public-housing residents.

Some Brooklynlites booed the light-rail scheme at a Dec. 14 town hall with the mayor and Red Hook Councilman Carlos Menchaca, and loudly jeered again when DeBlasio claimed he proposed the idea to improve areas’ transit options — not as a giveaway to greedy developers.

“I said I want the most transportation options I can get in this city. The plan is moving forward,” DeBlasio said to the crowd. “More mass transit options are good for everyone, so this whole thing that developers like it, therefore it must be awful — I don’t accept that.”

Other locals echoed transit honchos’ concerns about how the nabes affected by the pair of large projects will handle the influx of construction workers and changes in traffic the jobs will bring, with one woman at the BQE meeting saying it is “stupid” to be planning both at the same time.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Updated 6:09 pm, December 27, 2017
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Reasonable discourse

mansteam from sunset park says:
Another reason to trash this project.
Dec. 26, 2017, 9:39 am
multi-modal guy says:
“I said I want the most expensive transportation options I can get in this city. The plan is moving forward,” DeBlasio should have said to the crowd.

Much ado about nothing. BQX will never happen and Bob Collyer has nothing to worry about.
Dec. 26, 2017, 9:58 am
Morris from Mill Basin says:
What about the BQZ?
Dec. 26, 2017, 10:11 am
multi-modal guy says:
Even less likely to happen, Morris. Everything is being done in alphabetical order and the BQX and BQY would need to be up and running before we can even think about a BQZ.
Dec. 26, 2017, 11:10 am
blogger Bill from from Boerum Hill says:
Look at the picture above, look hard and look again. No room for cars, trucks, buses, right? Because BQX must have 33 feet at the center of every street even when no trolleys are present. Cute concept, but death for
business. Furman Street is foreclosed, owing
to rebuild of BQE. There is NO ROOM for BQX
in downtown Brooklyn and that's a fact.
Dec. 26, 2017, 11:42 am
Simon from Boerum Hil says:
De Blasio has no problem advancing the BQX for his greedy developer friends because he got re-elected by a Democrat electorate that doesn't care about cronyism and graft. De Blasio is corrupt, they don't care. The BQX will end up costing $5 billion and the taxpayers will be caught with the bill. The voters don't care. The subways are the worst they've been in modern memory, thanks to de Blasio and his —— fest with Cuomo. De Blasio's developer soluntion is to build a space hogging, flood vulnerable billions of dollars trolley that will hug 14 miles of shoreline where glass towers are set to rise. De Blasio is a true Progressive, a crony capitalist.
Dec. 26, 2017, 12:56 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I would rather see money spent on something that is really being used rather than on something that is still in the works. By that, I am referring to the BQE over the BQX. I can understand that many of you would wish for that to be gone, that would be a bad idea especially when it will force all of the commercial traffic that it deals with onto local roads. Just looking at the rendering of the BQX shows how much it will be relocating traffic just be seeing what is in those pictures especially due to closing off some of the streets to them. In reality, NYC doesn't need grade level transit, and they outlawed it decades ago due to being dangerous to a growing population, which is why much of it today is either above or below grade level. That pretty much explains why the Vision 42 Light Rail wasn't built either, but that's also because 42nd Street already has two subway lines below it anyway. Overall, just let this project die already, and stop trying to revive it just like congestion pricing.
Dec. 27, 2017, 5:11 pm
Jake The Fake from Court Street Lawyer says:
So diBlasio took a few bucks from developers. They all do it.
Dec. 27, 2017, 8:38 pm
Simon from Boerum Hill says:
The electeds all take money from developers, so it's okay? Actually, you're right, Jake the Fake. NYC Democrats re-eleted de Blasio knowing he's dirty. Now he's running for President as Mahatma Ghandi. Let's see if the country is as complicit in de Blasio's hypocrisy as this city.
Dec. 27, 2017, 9:09 pm
Tyler from pps says:
Blogger Bill.... That was a really stupid comments.

Please show me ANYWHERE on earth where a streetcar line running through a commercial district equals the "death for business."

Or is this a magical Brooklyn-only problem?
Dec. 28, 2017, 10:39 am
Greg from Fort Greene says:
Who's stupid, Tyler? Bill points out that there's no room for any vehicular traffic in the picture here of the BQX. The BQX takes up the entire roadway. Will the BQX be delivering orders to the stores? Yes, it's bad for business when stores can't get deliveries. Duh. But then you're a TA fanatic and you don't care if all the businesses fail as the price of banning four- and more-wheeled automobiles from the earth. The world according to vitriolic bikers.
Dec. 28, 2017, 11:33 pm
Tyler from pps says:
Who'd stupid?!

How do you think those parked cars got to the parking spaces in the picture?! Magic?

They drive down the street the streetcars also drive down. Notice the markings on the roadway -- "LOCAL TRAFFIC ONLY"?

When you see two cars passing each other on the road, is your reaction -- "OH Man! There's no room for other cars!" The streetcars move. Ya know? Transportation.
Dec. 29, 2017, 3:32 pm
Tyler from pps says:
By the way -- there's a truck in the picture too. Making a delivery. What?!
Dec. 29, 2017, 3:34 pm
NFA says:
1 Tyler

Anyone with the slightest knowledge of tram systems around the world would know that there is no evidence to suggest that sharing a lane with streetcar tracks prevents private cars and trucks from using the street (unless it is ped/transit only) and accessing businesses. If anything the presence of a streetcar or tram right on your doorstep increases business. Why all the hysterics?
Dec. 29, 2017, 7:10 pm
Greg from Fort Greene says:
To quote Tyler, "Who'd stupid?" Bill correctly notes there's no room for normal vehicular traffic on the street pictured with the BQX. The cars and truck NFA points out share space with pedestrians. There isn't a normal sidewalk, there's no curbing, just an even plane right to left for all -- trolley, cars and people strolling. Tyler tends to hysterics. Other people are just reporting on what's in the picture here.
Dec. 30, 2017, 4:54 pm
Ruth from Fort Greene says:
Look at the picture. There are trees planted in the same lane/sidewalk with the truck and cars. That's really unusual. Trees, trucks, cars and pedestrians all share the same space while the trolleys get everything else.
Dec. 30, 2017, 11:07 pm
Ruth from Fort Greene says:
When you look close, you can see curbing for a sidewalk. There is no traffic lane, the truck abd cars and trees are all on the sidewalk.
Dec. 30, 2017, 11:17 pm
Lk from Fort Greene says:
AS if traffic is not bad enough on the local streets. With the BQX all trucks and cars will have to go down local streets to find their way to a few precious spots on Atlantic Av to make deliveries or pick up large orders from the stores.
This is currently a transit rich area with two buses going down Atlantic and almost every subway within a four block walk from Atlantic and Court. The BQX also known as DBlasio's Trolley Folley is clearly a boon doggle for developers that the tax payers will pay for. $2.5 billion does not even come close to the cost.
Dec. 31, 2017, 11:05 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Another reason why the need for funding the BQE outweighs the funding for the BQX is because the BQE is here now and the BQX isn't.
Jan. 1, 5:19 pm
Tyler from pps says:
What photo are you crazy people looking at?? The one accompanying this article shows curbs, sidewalks, parking lanes, and traffic lanes. The only thing "special" about the street is that the traffic lanes are shared with streetcars using tracks...
Jan. 1, 11:21 pm
Tyler from pps says:
And AGAIN -- this configuration for a commercial street is STANDARD in cities all over the world. Stop with the "but we're soooooooo special" disease.
Jan. 1, 11:24 pm

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