Brooklyn-Queens Expressway Needs Innovative Solutions

The New York City roadway is desperately in need of repair, but just tearing it down and replacing it would be a shortsighted fix.
December 14, 2018, 7am PST | Camille Fink
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Justin Davidson ponders the future of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, which he would like to see come down for good rather than just replaced with the same:

So far, the city’s DOT has floated two, more or less equally horrendous options: make piecemeal repairs, causing eight years of Munch’s Scream-level congestion, or commandeer the Brooklyn Heights Promenade as a temporary highway and tolerate a different kind of misery for a mere six years.

Concerns about traffic congestion and what would happen to freight vehicles using the BQE if it went away completely should not be used to defend a replacement project that, conservatively, would cost $3 billion to $4 billion, says Davidson. Instead, he argues for a long-term vision that considers where transportation is headedin terms of technology and travel modesand goals like sustainability.

Davidson also spends time considering the stacked design of the BQE and the park and public space of the Brooklyn Heights Promenade. Burying the roadway, he suggests, would be a good alternative for reclaiming this space, even if a tunnel would be costly and time consuming. "To anyone who ever sat for hours, fumigated and immobilized, on the I-93 [in Boston] at rush hour, being able to stroll along the Rose Kennedy Greenway, which follows the same route, is a major urban gift."

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Published on Monday, December 10, 2018 in Intelligencer - New York Magazine
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