Opponents of city’s BQE plan to rally on Brooklyn Heights Promenade
NYC provides ‘no transparency’ for controversial plan, says Stringer
Residents and stakeholders have been left out of the city’s controversial plan to overhaul the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE), says city Comptroller Scott Stringer.
Stringer will be headlining a rally on Saturday on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade to demand more transparency and recommend that a “community-driven process” be implemented to identify a feasible alternative. The rally is sponsored by the community group A Better Way NYC and the Brooklyn Heights Association and is set to take place at 11 a.m. on the Promenade at the Pierrepont Street entrance.
The Department of Transportation’s preferred renovation plan would temporarily replace the Promenade, long considered the jewel of the Heights, with a six-lane highway for a period of six to 10 years while the BQE is rebuilt below.
Running the interstate, which carries 153,000 cars and trucks a day, alongside the neighborhood’s homes and schools would bring toxic levels of pollution to Brooklyn Heights, environmental experts say.
The city’s DOT “has failed to engage the surrounding neighborhoods in a constructive manner, has not been sufficiently transparent regarding alternatives to the current project, and has ‘eliminated several alternatives from consideration’ in a cursory manner,” Stringer wrote to Mayor Bill de Blasio on Dec. 17.
Stringer said he is also concerned that the city’s plan may be at cross purposes with other city initiatives and goals, including: $100 million in freight-rail improvements that would reduce truck traffic on the BQE; congestion pricing, which would also reduce traffic on the BQE; and the city’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gases. He said he was very concerned about the long-term environmental impact of the city’s proposed plan.
The other plan considered by the city is a more traditional lane-by-lane approach that would take longer and cost more, DOT says.
The Brooklyn Heights Association has developed an alternate plan that would run a temporary expressway along the edge of Brooklyn Bridge Park, far below the Promenade. DOT says it is considering the plan, along with other alternative ideas.
“The comptroller’s rejection of the city’s ill-conceived plan is a clear call for innovation, progressive action and rejection of the status quo,” Hilary Jager of A Better Way said after Stringer’s letter in December.
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