Sections

Promenade in peril! Mayor says replacing walkway with highway is better option for fixing BQE

Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Don’t miss our updates:

Mayor DeBlasio would prefer to turn the Brooklyn Heights Promenade into a speedway for thousands of vehicles to zip through the neighborhood instead of sending that traffic down local streets during the looming repairs to the Brooklyn–Queens Expressway, he announced on Friday.

“It will definitely have a big impact, but I think it’s the way to address the bigger problem once and for all, and as quickly as we can,” Hizzoner told WNYC radio host Brian Lehrer during an episode of the journalist’s eponymous show. “It’s a painful approach, it will definitely create a lot of inconvenience for people — I don’t want to underestimate what impact it would have.”

Last month, the city’s Department of Transportation unveiled two options for repairing the 70-year-old triple-cantilevered portion of the expressway between Atlantic Avenue and Sands Street: Either close the fabled walkway above it for no less than six years to make way for a six-lane highway, or reconstruct the three-tiered roadway lane-by-lane, causing traffic jams that officials warned could stretch for up to 12 miles.

Both options would cost more than $3 billion, nearly double what agency leaders originally predicted, and reconstructing the expressway lane-by-lane would still require closing the Promenade, but likely only for up to two years, according to transit officials.

Brooklyn Heights residents and pols, however, overwhelmingly opposed the plan to replace the walkway with a six-lane highway — not least because they claimed the cars, trucks, and busses that would travel it would rush past some area apartments at eye-level — and demanded Transportation Department bigwigs go back to the drawing board and come up with more options that wouldn’t require ripping out the Promenade, including potentially paving over parts of Brooklyn Bridge Park in order to reroute vehicles along the green space.

But many locals worried the city already made the choice to turn the walkway into a speedway shortly after announcing the two repair options under consideration, the executive director of civic group the Brooklyn Heights Association told transit officials last month.

And the mayor coming out in favor of the plan to temporarily destroy the Promenade, which officials promised to rebuild if they demolish it to fix the expressway, has only stoked those fears — and came as a slap in the face to residents advocating for another solution, according to the Heights Association’s president.

“At a time when the BHA has been trying to meet again with the DOT to urge serious consideration of alternatives to its two proposals, the mayor makes it clear that the city does not care to hear our community’s opinion,” said Martha Bakos Dietz. “His reference to the DOT’s alternative plan as a band-aid approach is condescending and dismissive of the very real consequences to Brooklyn Heights of an approach that would place six lanes of highway traffic in close proximity to a historic district, and its almost 2-centuries-old buildings.”

The piecemeal approach to repairing the triple cantilever could take nearly a decade to complete once workers begin the job sometime in 2020 or 2021 — making it virtually impossible to finish before 2026, the year experts predict the expressway will start to suffer irreparable damage under the weight of the thousands of trucks that travel it daily.

And that’s why getting the job done as fast as possible by paving over the Promenade is the better of the two “painful” options, according to DeBlasio.

“One would cause a huge number of vehicles to go through the streets of Brooklyn and clog up residential areas and business areas, and I think that’s extraordinarily problematic. It would also take longer – several years longer to achieve the change in the BQE,” he said. “The other is kind of the pull-the-band-aid off approach.”

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Updated 11:54 am, October 17, 2018: An earlier version of this story has been updated to include new comments from the Brooklyn Heights Association.
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Don’t miss our updates:

Reasonable discourse

Frank from Furter says:
what does he care he doesn't live there and is not running again...
Oct. 12, 4:15 pm
Fantasia Blumenthal from Thunder dome says:
Ridiculous idea to rip up the promenade and make it into a temp. Highway.- just reroute through traffic up 3rd and 4th avenues and on to Flatbush Ave. to the bridges or thru Ft. Greene to rejoin the highway. People will learn to avoid the area or leave home at dawn or find alternate routes once they see what a mess it is. Just start it already.
Oct. 12, 4:52 pm
Mayor's Mismanagement -Equal Opportunity MISSTEPS from Brooklyn-the center of the universe says:
If this Mayor wasn't busy lap-dogging REBNY/ Big Real Estate on his way to making NYC Dubai on the Hudson-he might have made the time to see that his inept agencies where heeding more than developer interests! Recommended reading: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/05/nyregion/brooklyn-heights-is-fighting-robert-moses-again.html " It would be easy to write off the resistance — and the lawsuits that will inevitably follow — as the whining of rich people. But the city’s lagging response to a serious infrastructural problem as it prioritized more conspicuously impressive forms of development speaks to the much larger issue — the near constant capitulation to vanities and greed over submission to drearier obligations. The city had anticipated problems with the B.Q.E. for years, even as it was planning for the construction of Brooklyn Bridge Park beneath it, Franklin Stone, a member of one of the park’s early planning commissions told me. Theoretically, the city could have postponed the construction of the park until the B.Q.E. had been rebuilt or rerouted; at the time, the waterfront was a postindustrial landscape of docklands that could easily have accommodated an expressway bypass. But the park was attractive to real-estate developers who were going to build luxury condominiums that would provide the tax revenue that would pay for the park’s upkeep."
Oct. 12, 5:15 pm
Louis Chevrolet from ENY says:
Wheres our tunnel under prospect park proposal?
Oct. 12, 6:08 pm
Fight from Brooklyn Heights says:
Fight this here: https://savethepromenade.org/
Oct. 12, 9:39 pm
Jose_the_Pizza_Guy from Bath Beach says:
Put it through the 9th Street YMCA.
Oct. 12, 10:21 pm
David from Clinton Hill says:
Bill de Blasio is a disgrace for his failure on transportation and climate policy. He's all self aggrandizing about his pitiful ferries and his PR campaign against the oil companies, but at the end of the day he is sitting idly by while our city devolves into gridlock, vehicular carnage, and failing public transportation. This highway was a historic mistake and we are perpetuating the same —— without even having a conversation about the impacts. Really, in 2018, in the densest and most transit-rich city in the nation, we are going to rubber stamp re-building a highway along a treasured waterfront, destroying two beloved parks, all to continue to cater to the whims of motorists. Commercial traffic makes up maybe 20% of traffic on the road, the rest are drivers enjoying their expressway into Manhattan and downtown Brooklyn - polluting our air, dooming our climate, and occupying a ton of valuable land. There has not even been the HINT of a discussion about how congestion pricing could be used to reduce demand on this roadway and others. For th record, I believe it should be torn down, replaced with affordable housing and parkland, and drivers should be shifted to transit, using a congestion charge and demand-based parking fees. This is what is being done the world over in global cities like London and Paris, where their leaders are actually acting on climate and quality of life issues, not merely sitting in the back of their private SUVs, accusing all who would challenge their hypocracy of "not having their facts." Bill de Blasio, Andrew Cuomo, and our absentee city council and state legislature are responsible for today's crisis and tommorrow's disaster.
Oct. 13, 7:52 am
judi francis from cobble hill says:
Hi David, Agree that bigger transportation PLANNING is required. Depending on such old and poor infrastructure in the 21st century by merely fixing the ills of the past will not do. We need big improvements to moving people and goods around. Big leaps not little fixes. We also need to understand how food and other goods will arrive in the next 50 years. I doubt drones will be delivering refrigerators so we need better roads, plain and simple. We also know that science will help us with carbon-scrubbers or carbon-recapture and also, the advent of driverless cars. Thinking moderately big seems to point in the direction of additional interstate throughput, and roads that by pass residential areas. Thus, the tunnel from the Navy Yard area to the Verrazano area with, perhaps, a spur out to LI, is needed. It is rather basic and should be done now. Then allow for incremental repair of the BQE, parts downgraded for cars only. Yes, too, on congestion pricing (see Nobel Laureate's views on carbon tax in today's news, too) and tolling the Verrazano both ways. While I was not a fan of Bloomberg - his patent disregard for communities and in privatizing our public assets)- was a fan of his forward thinking infrastructure plans. deBlasio is not up to the job and the City Council is completely absent of creativity. Cuomo, who knows?
Oct. 13, 11:12 am
Barry from Kenya says:
I drive a Prius and so does my life partner.
Oct. 13, 12:50 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Unfortunately, the BQE needs to be fixed one way or another whether some of you like it or not. There are a lot who use it be it passenger cars or commercial vehicles. If using part of the Brooklyn Heights Promenade will mean getting it fixed faster, then I'm all for it. Sometimes, it's you anti-car fanatics that have to agree to such compromises. Unless the restoration can be done 24-7, it has to be done that way. More importantly, tunneling is just out of the questions due to costs and what impacts that will have. As for congestion pricing, I still see it as a lost cause and the relentless push you anti-car fanatics are doing need to stop. This isn't just seen as a regressive tax to those who can't afford it, but also as a punishment to those who have little to no viable alternatives to getting around the way you all can. I would rather audit the MTA and see where all their existing revenues are going first before even thinking about this as well do a better crackdown and punishment for fare beaters so that there wouldn't have to be constant fare hikes. Personally, I wouldn't even think congestion pricing will even make a dent in helping the MTA despite what a recent NY Times article said about it. Overall, I do find some of you to be out of touch with reality and not understand that not everyone has the luxury of getting around without a motor vehicle like you can.
Oct. 13, 1:14 pm
Barry from Kenya says:
I will only say this anonymously because I’d get my ass kicked if I said it in person.
Oct. 13, 1:29 pm
Barry from Kenya says:
Unfortunately, the BQE needs to be fixed one way or another whether some of you like it or not. I like to enter my partner from behind. There are a lot who use it be it passenger cars or commercial vehicles. If using part of the Brooklyn Heights Promenade will mean getting it fixed faster, then I'm all for it. Sometimes, it's you anti-car fanatics that have to agree to such compromises. Unless the restoration can be done 24-7, it has to be done that way. More importantly, tunneling is just out of the questions due to costs and what impacts that will have. As for congestion pricing, I still see it as a lost cause and the relentless push you anti-car fanatics are doing need to stop. This isn't just seen as a regressive tax to those who can't afford it, but also as a punishment to those who have little to no viable alternatives to getting around the way you all can. I would rather audit the MTA and see where all their existing revenues are going first before even thinking about this as well do a better crackdown and punishment for fare beaters so that there wouldn't have to be constant fare hikes. Personally, I wouldn't even think congestion pricing will even make a dent in helping the MTA despite what a recent NY Times article said about it. Overall, I do find some of you to be out of touch with reality and not understand that not everyone has the luxury of getting around without a motor vehicle like you can.
Oct. 13, 2:39 pm
Craig from Bay Ridge says:
This is a "good of the many outweighs the good of the few" examples (if I can quote Mr. Spock). There must be 100s of 1000s of cars that cross through that part of the BQE daily,including commercial trucks that support millions of New Yorkers. Compare that to the hundreds or maybe 1000s of daily visitors to that park and maybe a few hundred local residents impacted. Yes it sucks, but it is temporary and for the greater good.
Oct. 13, 2:58 pm
Boris from Borough Park says:
Bill de Blasio is a girly man who does wimpy “workouts” that consist of light stretching, but requires a police motorcade to transport him to his pathetic excuse for exercise every morning. Just close the BQE for 5 years and rebuild it. Cold stop. People will figure it out.
Oct. 13, 5:41 pm
Moshe Aron Kestenbaum ODA from Williamsburg says:
The mayor travels in a escorted police motorcade so he gives no sh-t that you and I sit in traffic . Why distroy the promenade when you could place barges in the East River to handle the BQE traffic? Barges are the least disrupting and the fastest and cheapest alternative.
Oct. 14, 5:44 am
Decasto from Ridge wood says:
Ban cars , people should cycle and loose weight . Stop murdering animals or chickens for meat it’s a living creature , eat grass and be healthy with no need for doctors . Vote Cortez , free housing for everyone including immigrants , vote liberal progressive , long live Bernie sanders .
Oct. 14, 8:38 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
Down with republicans and cars. #walkaway
Oct. 15, 7:24 am
longgone from passing thru says:
Pretty sure no brain cells were involved in the proposal. Looks like, even with the development in the "park", you could build a transitory highway right thru the park and never have to touch the promenade or furman street keeping the renovation / replacement of the Moses era travesty from dong more damage to the area. the park can be restored after the renovations. the park dwellers would keep the renovation on track. am also pretty sure it would be much cheaper than the proposed alternatives.
Oct. 15, 8:05 am
Cin Del from Brooklyn says:
Demolish Ice Demolish the highway , build trains .
Oct. 15, 8:16 am
Frank from Furter says:
I am sure you are all aware that the Promenade at least in part is supported by or is part of Triple Cantilever of this section of the BQE. So that as this section of the BQE is repaired or replaced it will in sections be closed anyway.
Oct. 15, 9:22 am
verajay from Cobble Hill says:
It's a darn shame Brooklyn is being torn apart! The promenade is a home away from home! Our sanctuary! With all these condos going up,now tearing up the promenade,Brooklyn downtown nolonger feel homey! Every where you turn around,something being destroyed or going up! My blood boils just thinking of destroying the promenade!This mayor I just can't anymore! Instead of tearing up the promenade,Mr mayor,build low income not "affordable" housing in the city!
Oct. 15, 9:50 am
Nellie Mae Winchester from Canarsie says:
Too many cars, why not just use bikecycles instead?!?!!
Oct. 15, 1:42 pm
Barry from Kenya says:
I’ll be sitting under a palm tree collecting my tax free pension while a bunch of deranged flat earth society car haters destroy the infrastructure of this city, so cheers!
Oct. 15, 2:38 pm
Barry from Kenya says:
Walk away from the republicants! They are too soft on the blacks.
Oct. 15, 5 pm
Sen min from Brooklyn says:
How about everyone park the car and take a boat ride or Swim? Swimming from Sands St to Atlantic Ave is just a short distance , when it cold you could dress in these special swim suits . So elederly people will take the bus or train and younger people shall swim this distance. If enough people swim the water will warm up too.
Oct. 15, 5:53 pm
Jackie from Brooklyn Heights says:
So they're going to do repairs to the structure that holds up the walkway while simultaneously increasing its loads?
Oct. 15, 9:24 pm

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not BrooklynPaper.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to BrooklynPaper.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

MetroPlus Roosevelt Savings Bank Coney Island Hospital Brookdale VillageCareMax

Keep it local!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter:

Optional: