BROOKLYN, N.Y. - The crumbling Brooklyn Queens Expressway needs to be fixed, and soon. But there’s no agreement on how to do it.
The city’s proposal to turn the Brooklyn Heights Promenade into a temporary six lane highway during repairs is largely considered a flop by the community since it was announced last year.
"The original reaction was a solid two thumbs down," said Peter Bray, Executive Director of the Brooklyn Heights Association.
Now an alternative plan for the one and half mile stretch is being rolled out. This one announced by City Comptroller Scott Stringer.
"I don’t want to see another super highway where we have an existing superhighway," Stringer said.
Stringer’s concept is to turn one level of the triple cantilever into a truck-only two way highway, another into a two mile linear park as repairs get done. He says it’ll be faster and cheaper than the city’s plan.
"We propose a plan that would meet the needs of communities by reducing congestion, making sure the cars stay away from the pedestrians, preserving open space and finally doing something this city hasn’t done in a long time, change the Robert Moses centric planning of the city," Stringer said.
Controversial urban planner Robert Moses played a huge role in the BQE construction which opened to traffic in 1954. Now more than 150,000 cars and trucks use the roadway every day according to the DOT. Community groups opposed to the city’s Promenade replacement plan say they like the idea coming from the Comptroller’s office. The group A Better Way NYC was formed in response to the BQE project.
"They’re being creative, they’re being innovative, they’re pushing the envelope. And that’s exactly what should be happening right now with this project. It’s a $4 billion project that involves millions of people," said Hilary Jager, Co-Founder of A Better Way NYC.
The Brooklyn Heights Association says it appreciates Stringer’s alternative proposal but also has one of its own which would move the traffic down below and keep all the green space.
"We're looking forward to sitting down with DOT again on Monday to go through very technical aspects of this plan with their engineers," Bray said.
The DOT says it’s looking at all options. And environmental impact studies still need to happen. The city's proposals are expected to take at least six years to complete.
A Better Way NYC and the Brooklyn Heights Association plan to hold a town hall meeting on the BQE reconstruction on April 3.