BQE confidential: City sets private meeting with local civic gurus to discuss highway’s repair

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Department of Transportation officials will meet with leaders of local community boards behind closed doors on March 11, to get the civic gurus’ input on the proposals to repair the Brooklyn–Queens Expressway’s crumbling triple cantilever, according to an agency spokeswoman.

“The meeting will consist of a briefing on the BQE project, and serve as an opportunity to hear feedback from the community boards, and will not include new information,” said Alana Morales.

The rep did not say which boards will send members to the meeting. But the top staffer of Community Board 2, whose district includes the Brooklyn Heights Promenade — which one proposal suggests converting into a six-lane highway for expressway traffic in order to repair the three-tiered highway beneath it — said that he and other leaders of that panel received an invitation.

“DOT invited us to an invitation-only scheduled briefing on the BQE,” said CB2 District Manager Robert Perris.

Perris, who said the invitation came with no further details on what the meeting would cover, will attend the meeting with CB2’s newly elected chairman, Lenny Singletary, and heads of the panels’s Transportation and Public Safety, Parks, and Land Use Committees.

It will be the first time in five months that agency leaders discuss the looming fix with the civic gurus, according to the district manager. And he suspects officials waited that long so that tempers could cool following the overwhelming backlash they received to their two proposed repair plans at a September town hall — retaliation that Perris believes led transit chiefs to reconsider their so-called innovative option to turn the Promenade into a speedway in order to fix the triple cantilever.

“They have not talked to CB2 since the September town hall, when they had their tails handed to them,” he said. “They’re not talking to anybody because their reconsidering their plan.”

Since the heated town hall, Transportation Department officials only attended one CB2 meeting in January, where they presented a project on Nassau Street pedestrian improvements to the panel’s Transportation and Public Safety Committee.

But over the past five months, agency leaders continued to meet with Brooklyn Heights residents, business owners, and other groups with a vested interest in the fate of the beloved Promenade, according to Morales. And those conversations suggest another town-hall style gathering may follow the upcoming private meeting, Perris said.

“They’ve been meeting with property owners in the neighborhood and politicians. All of that is an indication that they are on the verge of having another town hall meeting,” he said.

In addition to the innovative option — which would turn the Promenade into a speedway for no less than six years so workers can shore up the 1.5-mile stretch of expressway between Atlantic Avenue and Sands Street by 2026, the year experts worry the triple cantilever may collapse beneath the weight of the thousands of trucks that travel it daily — transit officials are now weighing two other repair plans.

One, the city’s so-called traditional option, proposes repairing the triple cantilever lane-by-lane, a job that could last until 2028, cause traffic backups for up to 12 miles, and would still require closing the Promenade for at least two years for repairs. The other, proposed by an architect tapped by local civic group the Brooklyn Heights Association, calls for creating a temporary, two-tiered roadway for diverted expressway traffic along the Furman Street border of Brooklyn Bridge Park, and would allow the job to finish faster than either city option, according to Heights Association leaders.

The Transportation Department spokeswoman could not confirm by press time whether the agency planned to hold another public meeting about the repair plans, but said that its leaders will continue to engage with community members.

“We will continue to work with elected officials, the community, and all local stakeholders on the entire project corridor to hear their input,” Morales said.

But one CB2 member accused transit officials of not being transparent enough about their plans for the project — which could kick off as soon as next year — claiming the panel is still waiting on answers to its own questions about the forthcoming fix.

“I want them to not be evasive about it, and answer our questions about alternative proposals,” said Transportation and Public Safety Committee member Patrick Killackey, who lives in Brooklyn Heights. “This project is going to change our lives. Why are you just dismissing having dialogue with the community and experts?”

Updated 4:42 pm, March 1, 2019
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Reasonable discourse

Jim from Cobble Hill says:
Well they can't all agree on the kickbacks and payoffs if other people are watching are they...? What do you think this is, a democracy?
Feb. 28, 2019, 10:01 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
Get rid of the BQE. Dumbest idea ever was to put a highway through the city.
March 1, 2019, 11:08 am
Former Resident from Fulton Ferry says:
The game is the same. A wink, a nod, and they'll throw residents of the Fulton Ferry Landing, Pier 1 area under the Heights bus! Just as was done in the 1990s BQE resurfacing. Shows consistency, if not shared pain. It's what they do.
March 1, 2019, 11:12 am
BQE Watch from Brooklyn Heights says:
And it would be a shame - no, a sham - if they did not invite the one member of the CB6 transportation committee who has 1. been the longest serving member of that transportation committee, so knows the issues affecting the south end of the project, 2. invite the longest serving CB2 and CB1 transportation committee members who have the same experience and knowledge (but are not political appointees so will not be wed to the political bull), and 3. the only non-engineer to sit on the State's DOT Technical Advisory Committee during the 2006-2011 BQE study period . They would 1. not be part of the Heights' cabal (per another responder's concern, which is legitimate) and 2. not wedded to any process but just wedded to doing the right thing for the future of our borough's accessibility, for everyone. Let's see if it is inclusive and if it doesn't restrict what they are allowed to tell the rest of us, too.
March 1, 2019, 11:49 am
Real Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
Thankfully, the adults in the room will not be listening to idiots that wish they lived in the Bronze Age. Just remember that the same loons that want to take away your car will be coming for your heating oil and electricity next. Lights and heat are sooo bad for the environment don’t ya know.
March 1, 2019, 11:53 am
Robert Perris from Community Board 2 says:
March 1, 2019, 12:01 pm
tunnel-it from Brooklyn says:
All we have to do is tunnel-it. We're amongst the richest cities in the world and can afford to install the right infrastructure in the right places. Plan: Continue going down from the ditch (south of Atlantic Ave), go under the Heights with several tubes connecting seamlessly to the Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Bridge and the BQE. If there are subway tunnels in the way, move them (if they did it in Boston, they can do it here). What we have left is a beautiful cantilever that can be transformed into a multi-level riverwalk with the likes of little shops & cafes to compliment Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn Bridge Park and one of the most spectacular waterfront views in the world - Manhattans west side pales in comparison. So why waste time and money on stupid alternatives nobody wants. Let's tunnel-it!
March 1, 2019, 12:02 pm
Real Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
First they came for my heating oil and I said nothing. Then they came for my scat pornography and I said nothing. Then they took our jobs!
March 1, 2019, 12:21 pm
Real Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
First they came for my heating oil and I said nothing. Then they came for my scat pornography and I said nothing. Then they took our jobs!
March 1, 2019, 12:38 pm
Real Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
We need more shopping malls but the commie libs want to get rid of those too.
March 1, 2019, 12:41 pm
InTheSlope from Park Slope says:
100% agree, make them go over Verrazano "Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says: Get rid of the BQE. Dumbest idea ever was to put a highway through the city."
March 1, 2019, 12:47 pm
Jerry from Brooklyn says:
No matter what, this project has to get done. I think the best option is to construct the temporary highway in the East River. However, the idea mentioned above of a tunnel under the Heights and using the existing cantilever for shops and a park is very intriguing.
March 1, 2019, 2:23 pm
Judi from Cobble Hill says:
A Tunnel is not possible under the promenade (given tunnels for subways as well as the geology according to State DOT in 2010 - this we know). But tunneling IS feasible down 4th ave with interchanges around the Navy Yard and around Hamilton Ave. to relieve the BQE 'dog leg' /Triple Cantilevered Roadbed ("TCR") of through-traffic which allows the TCR to be fixed in place (i.e. no 6 lane Promenade Highway ) and prevents obscene traffic on local streets (somewhat...there will always be that during whichever solution NYC comes up with...a reality but can be further mitigated by two way tolls on Verrazano among other small moves...). But a major through- tunnel is needed, even if the TCR didn't also need to be repaired, according to the NYM technical engineering conference because traffic is, today, near 24/7 and truck surface traffic will increase by 60% in next 25 years....even before all the development in the downtown area is factored in! This may well be the last chance we have to make the necessary moves we must make in order for Brooklyn to be navigable in the future. It is ridiculous not to be thinking big about this chance, now.
March 1, 2019, 2:46 pm
Brooklyn from Atlantic Ave says:
Biggest scam is Regina Meyer from Brooklyn Partnership & Kathryn Wilde from Partnership for NY. These two are always quoted with sound bites and respected frauds when it comes to what the public needs are and speaking to real constituents.
March 2, 2019, 2:02 pm
Sheriff from Fagetaboutit says:
What happened to the Sunshine Law regarding Community Board Meetings?
March 3, 2019, 12:59 pm
Robert Perris from Community Board 2 says:
Not applicable in this case, Sheriff. Here's the law if you want to read it yourself:
March 4, 2019, 9:12 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
How about just do the construction on the BQE late nights as they are doing on the FDR Drive so that it will have little impact on traffic and that nothing else will have to be given up?
March 4, 2019, 3:40 pm

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