Mayor Adams wants Brooklyn residents to weigh-in on BQE overhaul plan

Mayor Eric Adams and metropolis Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez need to hear from Brooklyn residents residing alongside the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway as the town explores how to rehabilitate the crumbling roadway, the pair introduced Friday.

The metropolis is launching two public engagement durations this month, inviting communities residing close to the BQE to weigh-in on the town’s forthcoming efforts to make long-term fixes to each the city-owned part of the roadway between Atlantic Avenue and Sands Street – dubbed “the BQE Central project” – and the stretches to the north and south – referred to as “the BQE North-South project,” in accordance to a launch type City Hall.

Those parts of the BQE, operating up to the Kosciusko Bridge north of Sands Street and the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge south of Atlantic Avenue, are managed by the state Department of Transportation.

Now is the right time to begin making severe repairs to the freeway, Adams stated, as the town is flush with money for such tasks from federal funds allotted via the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law signed by President Joe Biden final year.

“It’s time to take a new approach to the BQE and ‘Get Stuff Done,’” Adams stated. “Our administration is seizing a once-in-a-generation opportunity to partner with communities and develop a bold vision for a safe and resilient BQE. Together, we are finally confronting the racism built into our infrastructure and putting equity front and center to modernize this vital transportation artery now.”

The sections of the BQE coated by BQE Central and BQE North and South, respectively. Image courtesy of New York City Department of Transportation.

Rodriguez echoed the concept that this new project is not going to solely ship a greater refurbished freeway, but additionally reconnect communities to the north and south of the BQE that have been divided by its building.

“We must reckon with the harm these 20th-century highways have caused communities of color in New York City,” Rodriguez stated. “While we undertake the BQE Central project, we will ensure we are also planning how best to reconnect other neighborhoods that have been split apart by this highway, from Bay Ridge to Greenpoint.”

The mayor first floated the idea nixing his predecessor Bill de Blasio’s plan to make short-term repairs to the BQE over the next two decades in June, promising to fast-track a bigger overhaul of the roadway so as to unlock federal {dollars} from the infrastructure deal. De Blasio’s plan additionally included tightening restrictions on obese vans, which put a pressure on the roadway’s tiered part in Brooklyn Heights – often called the triple cantilever.

Adams’ office stated they count on building on the BQE Central project – together with the triple cantilever – to start throughout the subsequent 5 years, in accordance to a launch. They’re additionally working to reconnect communities north and south of the BQE by constructing parks and plazas and offering new transportation choices. Although a launch wasn’t particular about what these modifications would seem like.

Traffic heads north on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway in Brooklyn Heights. Photo by Kevin Duggan/amNY File.

The group engagement interval beginning this month will encompass in-person and distant workshops, conferences with group teams, public surveys and outreach in neighborhoods straddling the roadway. The metropolis will present funding to group teams trying to have interaction underrepresented people within the planning course of.

In a press release, Carlo Scissura, president and CEO of the New York Building Congress applauded the mayor for launching the BQE public engagement course of.

“We are thrilled that Mayor Adams and his administration are moving forward with several of the critical recommendations of the BQE Expert Panel report, which I had the honor of chairing in 2019-20,” Scissura stated. “We are eager to work with his team to ensure that necessary critical repairs are made to ensure the long-term safety of the roadway.”

“We also look forward to an eventual corridor-wide, full re-imagination of the BQE from Staten Island to The Bronx that serves people, communities, and the entire city,” he added. “In the name of sustainability and equity for those impacted by the mistakes of yesteryear, all options for a greener, fully modernized, community-focused roadway must be considered.”

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