Mayor Eric Adams revealed back on December 13, new proposals that would set out to fix a patch of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE) in Brooklyn Heights. Though after collecting feedback from the community the designs were reimagined, and new ones were released yesterday, February 28.
The process surrounding the long-term fix was announced back in September 2022 by Mayor Adams along with NYCDOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez.
Their focus is on the city-owned section from Atlantic Avenue to Sands Street along with the possibility of improving BQE corridors in Brooklyn to the north and south.
First built in the mid-1940s, this section of the BQE carries more than 130,000 vehicles daily, including 13,000 trucks, though it’s nearing the point of becoming unusable or completely crumbling.
These newly proposed designs build upon the original concepts with updated aspects. The concepts aim to “enhance open space, connectivity, and accessibility; reduce the physical presence of the highway by covering the BQE; respect the historic nature of the promenade; and mitigate pollution, noise, and traffic,” says a press release.
Keeping the same names as the original proposals, “The Terraces,” “The Lookout,” and “The Stoop,” each proposal aims to overcome the highway as a physical barrier between BQE Central neighborhoods and the waterfront.
Both The Terraces and The Lookout concepts wouldn’t need to replace as much as The Stoop proposal. Both of these options could be built with a lighter-touch and only a partial replacement of the cantilever.
The Stoop, on the other hand, would require a more intensive full replacement to achieve what they’re going for.
Feedback from the community through in-person and virtual workshops, surveys with nearly 1,900 respondents, stakeholder meetings, and focus groups with experts and advocates all were taken into account when proposing new concepts.
The new proposed designs differ from the original three options that were released back in December of last year in the sense that a third lane that was originally proposed is absent from the newer options.
The original proposals all included two lanes of traffic with a third lane to be used either as a breakdown lane or for high occupancy vehicles.
There will be continuous workshops and opportunities for community feedback up to and through the federally mandated environmental review process, in which all concepts that move forward will be based on purpose and need and all subject to community input.
“Today brings us one step closer to building a BQE that serves all New Yorkers,” said NYC Mayor Eric Adams. “This administration is taking a bold approach, repairing a crumbling eyesore and delivering transformational open space to residents and visitors alike. While much work remains, these refined concepts mark another milestone to create a reimagined BQE Central.”
This isn’t the only project in the works to fix NYC infrastructure issues–construction on the Williamsburg Bridge is also underway, though it’s going to cause some subway line disturbances.