The panel, assembled by Mayor Bill de Blasio last year, was tasked with studying the options to fix a crumbling portion of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and deliver a report.
The 1.5-mile stretch of the BQE that connects Staten Island and Brooklyn to Queens is a critical regional roadway used by more than 150,000 vehicles daily, including 15,000 trucks.
When the triple-cantilever, topped by the popular Brooklyn Heights Promenade, was designed in the 1950s by Robert Moses, it only carried 50,000 cars. Officials have previously estimated that if the crumbling highway isn’t fixed by 2026, trucks would need to be diverted to local streets.
The panel was expected to produce their conclusions last summer, but blew past that deadline.
Now, according to reports, the panel may recommend assembling yet another panel made up of local, state and federal representatives to come up with a solution.
Though BQE panel chair Carlo Scissura insisted that the idea of creating another panel was only in a draft report –– and that the final report could be different –– it’s alarming to see that the so-called expert group studied the options and may end up with no real recommendation.
Residents, like the mayor, should reserve judgement until the actual report is released in the next few weeks. But if the final report doesn’t have a conclusive recommendation on the best way to move forward, residents should be concerned and take action.
The panel had more than enough time to assess all their options. Government and transportation officials are awaiting the decision before proceeding.
We hope the BQE panel not only recommends a viable way forward, but explains clearly and in technical terms why it’s the best path.
Then the city and state need to work together with community partners to implement the plan to fix the BQE.