On BPR: Heights Association brain trust on the destruction of the Promenade

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Scenic while it lasts: The leaders of civic group the Brooklyn Heights Association will share the next steps they plan to take in their effort to convince the city to leave the neighborhood's Promenade untouched during its looming repairs to the Brooklyn–Queens Expressway.

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The leaders of the Brooklyn Heights Association pleaded their case to save the Brooklyn Heights Promenade from destruction on the latest edition of Brooklyn Paper Radio, telling hosts Vince DiMiceli and Anthony Rotunno there are alternatives to closing the beloved walkway for almost a decade, and that they couldn’t understand why Mayor DeBlasio on Friday endorsed a plan that would turn it into a six-lane speedway.

“The community was blindsided by the mayor’s comments,” said Heights Association executive director Peter Bray on the show. “I think it was extraordinarily unfortunate and inappropriate for him to comment at a point when the Department of Transportation has told the community that this is part of a lengthier community-engagement process.”

Both Bray and Heights Association president Martha Bakos Dietz said they would rather the city divert traffic from the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway’s decrepit triple-cantilever to unused portions of Brooklyn Bridge Park instead of destroying the only good thing that ever came of the original construction of the highway in the first place — the Promenade.

And they, along with DiMiceli and Rotunno, wondered why the waterfront’s park, hotel, and condos were even built before the important stretch of highway was repaired in the first place.

Bray hinted that the recession 10 years ago probably played a role in the state wheedling its way out of its responsibility to fix the highway, but DiMiceli took things a step farther, hinting that special interests convinced government officials to push through the lucrative park plan over an infrastructure project.

“I think somebody made this decision,” he said. “Somebody in government said ‘Which one are we going to do?” and somebody said “You know, we’ve going to do the park.’ ”

Ever the journalist and following the mantra to “follow the money,” DiMiceli later wondered if it was those same special interests that are moving the highway skyward and next to the multi-millon dollar homes in the Heights, instead of down nearer the water passing the newly built, multi-million dollar condos within the green space.

Tune in now to hear it all, and make sure to stick around to the end when DiMiceli sprung a burning question on the civic gurus that we all want to hear answered: Is Brooklyn Bridge Park a good neighbor?

Brooklyn Paper Radio is recorded and podcast live every Tuesday at — for your convenience — from our studio in America’s Downtown and can be found, as always, right here on, on iTunes, and of course, on Stitcher. Listen to a feed of the latest show anytime at

Updated 9:22 am, October 17, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

judi francis from cobble hill says:
Anthony, when you write your columns can you kindly talk about the structures along the Promenade as historic residences? These buildings are fragile made more complicated in their connection to the substructure of the triple cantilevered roadbed. That is a very large part of this discussion and less so the nature of it now being a "tony" area. Many who live there remember when no one wanted to live in Brooklyn and many of those are the same folks who worked hard to improve their neighborhood and preserve its history (at great costs, with Landmark restrictions too). Separately, I hope you will talk about the long study the State made for alternatives that included barging in "boxes" to replace the roadbed in sections, and certainly, the idea of tunneling under the borough for a better interstate option (for trucks primarily and tolled to pay for it) and downgrading the BQE dog leg - yes, an inefficient way to move many of these trucks, a straight throughput - to a parkway for cars (and trucks making local deliveries which can be monitored remotely via EZ pass permissions). So, many ways to solve this crisis which should never have happened in the first place as those of us who knew 14 years ago advocated for this to be fixed before the Park got built - and those advocates included the Brooklyn DOT Commissioner Palmieri who gave testimony to the Park DEIS in Sept 2005. OK, hope your broadcast gets some traction in Albany if not in City Hall.
Oct. 16, 2018, 12:28 pm
Norman Farber from Brooklyn says:
Moses , sometimes you DO make sense. This construction disaster has to be stoped , the plan as is makes no sense it will destroy historic infrastructure and the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood . The BQE has to be rerouted on 4th Ave or on barges on the river .
Oct. 16, 2018, 8:45 pm
Santiago D from Brooklyn says:
Ban all cars and trucks , only allow Bikes . Build more trains and boat docks for public transportation . Demolish the presidency the country could be run by a computer , listen more of this to Cortez. Free college Education , food stamps and housing for all immigrants . Demolish ICE
Oct. 17, 2018, 8:17 am
George from Boerum Hill says:
De Blasio has wrecked everything else, why not the Promenade too? He's probably got a deal with developers to declare the mansions on the Promenade unstable so they have to come down so new luxury apartment skyscrapers can go up by the new highway. How surprising that DOT Commissioner Palmieri testified for the neighborhood. That has to be the only good thing he did in his long tenure. Successor Bray has yet to do anything good.
Oct. 17, 2018, 9:05 am
Ripley from Cobble Hill says:
As disruptive as it would be, the only way to get this project done is to completely shut down that section of the BQE for the length of the project. There is just no room in that corridor for a temporary highway.
Oct. 17, 2018, 10:31 am
judi Francis from Cobble Hill says:
Nice broadcast. A few things necessary: First, create a list of mitigation opportunities and secure political commitment for them - now. Some are easy like: 1. Toll Verrazano both ways, 2. Take away toll on Brooklyn/Battery Tunnel during peak hours to spread traffic out more effectively, 3. Congestion pricing on the Bridges to cut down on single trippers. At the same time, make sure the numbers on through-put are correct: what percent of trucks don't stop in Brooklyn or Long Island? what percentage of cars ? (These numbers seem flakey to those of us who sat through the five years of study when the State was running the engagement process.. the City's numbers are almost the complete opposite of what the State told us...) This leaves ideas like cars only or trucks only on parts of this roadbed during construction, more realistic. And, finally, don't be afraid of a a big idea - like fixing the overall traffic problem now, and not wait until the next problem pops up in 5 years with all the development happening and no plans for current mitigation or throughput. A big idea is to create a tunnel (tolled to pay for it) straight thru to the Verrazano at the same time downgrading this particular roadbed to a parkway for cars only (interesting idea Vince of trucks only) and fix it traditionally. Big ideas sometimes are the most doable because they are big and pols want to get behind big improvements vs. little fixes. A tunnel and a downgraded parkway will leave the borough and the whole region far better off. Be brave, DOT and politicians. Listen to those who knew and have thought about this for a very long time (including then Bklyn DOT Commissioner Palmieri) who saw this train wreck in 2005, and testified with many of us about the useless berm in BBP, too, knowing the repaired roadbed would make that so-called sound attenuator and wasted park lands in the park unnecessary. Be brave, think big, don't just repair but improve traffic for the long term, and do it now!
Oct. 18, 2018, 1:48 pm
Historian from Fort Greene says:
Judi Francis, your proposal is the best proposal I've heard, it's the best for the future of Brooklyn. Tunneling using the TBM will not destroy anything while the tunnel is created. It's safer, could leave the promenade in place as is and increase traffic capacity. This should have been presented at the hearing which was a fiasco for the presenters. In such a presentation, everyone is necessary for the meeting. The mayor is such a disappointment, no follow-through, he uses unattainable public relation, pie in the sky with no science, logic or reasoning behind his need and complicit behavior in the over-development of Brooklyn. If a horrible disaster happens, it would be because there is no consideration of the repercussions of not increasing infrastructure strengths.
Oct. 31, 2018, 4:44 am

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