Brooklyn Heights

BQE panel offers first progress report

May 16, 2019 Mary Frost
The Department of Transportation announced its plans to reconstruct a segment of the BQE last fall. Eagle file photo by Don Evans
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The panel appointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio to evaluate the controversial reconstruction of a 1.5-mile decrepit section of the BQE underpinning the Brooklyn Heights Promenade has issued its first report.

Panel Chairperson Carlo Scissura said in a release on Wednesday that the group has begun weekly meetings, and has done “some critical background work — becoming familiar with the various proposals on the table, site conditions, structural analysis and traffic data.”

“We’ve also toured the structure itself as well as the surrounding area. And we’ve been joined by representatives from a number of agencies that have shared information about their adjacent facilities that will have an impact on the project, including the MTA New York City Transit, Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation, and the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, Parks Department and City Planning Department,” he said.

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The panel now has its own page on NYC Department of Transportation’s website. Scissura said that people may leave comments there, or may call his office directly at 212-213-2434.

The 17-member panel was assembled by the mayor in early April after opposition to the city’s preferred $4 billion reconstruction plan reached near-frenzy levels.

The city’s plan would have temporarily replaced the landmarked Brooklyn Heights Promenade with a six-lane BQE bypass for roughly eight years, destroying a protected view plain and polluting neighborhood air with toxic particulates.

Carlo Scissura will chair the blue ribbon panel created to help streamline the BQE reconstruction planning process. Photo courtesy of Carlo Scissura.
Carlo Scissura chairs the BQE panel. Photo courtesy of Carlo Scissura

Civic groups, design firms, officials and individuals proposed their own alternate reconstruction proposals.

The panel recently met with 16 stakeholder groups from Vinegar Hill, DUMBO, Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill and more, and will hold another meeting soon. The meeting’s 3-hour agenda included presentations by the BIG Group, BHA/Marc Wouters, and Comptroller Scott Stringer’s office.

According to Scissura, the panel’s mandate is “to consider everything that has been put out,” including the DOT plans. It will closely consider the actual physical condition of the BQE and what can be built there. He told civic groups at the first meeting that the panel is “going to look at everything.”

He anticipates that the panel will issue a report in the fall that will address what can be built and establish guidelines for the construction.

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