Residents Protest Plan To Put BQE Atop Brooklyn Promenade

January 12, 2019 - 1:22 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – Neighbors gathered Saturday to fight a plan by the city’s Department of Transportation to build a temporary extension of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade.

Hundreds showed up to protest on a brisk morning at one of the most scenic urban vistas anywhere in the world. From the promenade, you can see the Manhattan skyline, New York Harbor and the Statue of Liberty.

But that could soon be changing. The Brooklyn Promenade sits atop the BQE, where it blocks many of the dangerous fumes from some 150,000 vehicles each day.

BQE DOT protest
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A DOT plan calls for bringing a 1.5-mile section of the crumbling BQE up to promenade-level to offset traffic as repairs are made to the roads below.

The project could start as soon a 2020 and last as long as six years with a price tag of more than $3 billion.

“We’re not going to tolerate a six-lane highway where we’re standing right now,” said Brooklyn Heights Association president Peter Bray on Saturday.

City Comptroller Scott Stringer was also calling for a new proposal that doesn't include moving the BQE up. 

“A planning process in the 1950s keeps the city in the 1950s,” he said.

Brooklyn Heights Promenade
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Stringer and other leaders want to find a new way other than the two or three options currently being considered.

All of those options would reroute traffic where the promenade now stands.

“All these children can get asthma and cancer and die, and that’s okay for the sake of 153,000 gas-guzzling vehicles a day,” resident Laurie Garrett told WCBS 880’s Mike Sugerman.

Garrett and other advocates are hopeful. They say all they want is a seat at the table.

In an interview with the New York Post last month, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and health expert Laurie Garrett said the DOT’s proposal would unleash dangerous fumes on Brooklyn neighborhoods.

“It removes the lid on a stew pot of chemicals, which means they will go right into Brooklyn Heights and Dumbo,” she said.

BQE DOT protest
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