Council member Stephen Levin and the Brooklyn Heights Association have published statements after Mayer de Blasio publicly supported the 6-lane highway at the Promenade as the best approach for reconstructing the BQE. Both, the Council Man and the Brooklyn Heights Association are asking the DOT to assess additional approaches and ideas for the project.

Stephen Levin

“I would like to take a moment to stop and thank everyone who has taken the time to contact my office regarding the NYC DOT BQE Triple Cantilever Reconstruction proposal. While the reconstruction of this section of this section of the BQE – a critical infrastructure corridor impacting many communities and a portion of New York City as a whole – is necessary, the “innovative” approach presented by NYC DOT presents too many red flags when considering the local community of Brooklyn Heights. The “innovative” and “traditional” approaches are unsatisfactory. That said, NYC DOT has been examining this and has been nothing short of transparent, having held public meetings on just this subject since 2016. I have full confidence in the abilities of DOT and their engineers to start anew on this project with the input they have gained and taking other approaches into consideration. Furthermore, I welcome anyone with ideas to submit them to NYC DOT and share them with my office. I will be releasing a public statement shortly, wherein I will also call on the State to contribute to this costly endeavor, and very much look forward to discussing new ideas and solutions for this unique challenge.”

Brooklyn Heights Association statement

“Mayor de Blasio blindsided the Brooklyn Heights community Friday by supporting the temporary 6-lane highway at the Promenade as the best approach for reconstructing the BQE. He remarked that “it’s the way to address the bigger project once and for all and as quickly as we can do it.” As the President of the Board of Governors of the Brooklyn Heights Association, I was stunned to read the Crain’s report that Mayor de Blasio supports the New York City Department of Transportation’s so-called ‘Innovative’ approach to the reconstruction of the BQE. At a time when the BHA has been trying to meet again with the DOT to urge serious consideration of alternatives to its two proposals, the Mayor makes it clear that the City does not care to hear our community’s opinion.

We certainly agree that the rehabilitation of the BQE is necessary and urgent and we are willing, as a neighborhood, to share the pain. But the Mayor’s reference to the DOT’s alternative plan as a Band-Aid approach is condescending and dismissive of the very real consequences to Brooklyn Heights of an approach that would place six lanes of highway traffic in close proximity to an historic district and its almost two-centuries-old buildings.

We truly think there are other options to be considered and the City needs to meet with us as soon as possible to discuss these. ”The BHA urges the community to condemn the Mayor’s endorsement of the 6-lane highway and his attempt to short-circuit the community’s demand that DOT develop less damaging options to the BQE’s reconstruction. Responses should be emailed to Daniel Abramson, the Mayor’s representative to the Brooklyn Heights community, at dabramson@cityhall.nyc.gov. The BHA also calls upon the community to support Save the Promenade and sign its petition.  The BHA is working closely with its organizers to block DOT’s 6-lane highway proposal, and has reached out to DOT to request a meeting to present an option that would shift the temporary roadway west of the Promenade.”

The Department of Transportation had unveiled two possible proposals for the rehabilitation of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway from Atlantic Avenue to Sands Street.

In what the agency has billed the “innovative” scenario, the revamp would be completed in six years at a cost of $3.2–$3.6 billion, with numerous community benefits (including improved pedestrian access from Brooklyn Heights to Brooklyn Bridge Park, and more green space around the roadway). But it would also necessitate the complete closure of that portion of the BQE and construction of a temporary six-lane roadway on the level of the Brooklyn Heights Promenade—meaning the walkway would be removed for as long as six years. It would be rebuilt at the end of the construction period, a move that DOT sees as necessary given its age and current state.

The other, “traditional” scenario would see reconstruction on the BQE implemented piecemeal; repairs would be made lane-by-lane, without the temporary roadway or an extensive closure of the Promenade. DOT sees this option as more uncertain when it comes to pricing and timeline—it could take more than eight years, and the cost could be anywhere from $3.4 billion to more than $4 billion.