The Department of Transportation (DOT) is faced with tough choices on how to proceed with reconstructing the infamously horrible triple cantilever that Robert Moses built. The structure is crumbling, and if officials don’t act, trucks will be forced onto local roads by 2026.
The DOT prefers to build a temporary elevated roadway over the existing structure, which would cost less, be finished sooner and limit congestion.
The major downside is that Brooklyn Heights residents and visitors would lose their beloved promenade for six years.The promenade, with beautiful views of Manhattan, was a concession when Moses pushed the BQE through their neighborhood in the 1940s.
The second choice DOT has presented to the community would tackle the rebuild lane by lane. The price tag is slightly higher, but more importantly, it would take more than eight years to complete. Traffic would undoubtedly come to a standstill, and the roadway would be closed on many weekends.
Though losing the promenade may seem like a non-starter, Brooklyn residents have to consider this option. As DOT engineers made clear, the promenade is nearly 70 years old and needs to be reconstructed anyway.
In the second option, it would also be closed, but for just two years rather than six.
At a town hall last week, residents presented alternative ideas that the DOT should think about.
But just to let the BQE fall apart is not an option. Hundreds of thousands of people use the roadway daily. And even if New York City wants to move away from cars and toward alternative modes of transportation, this isn’t the way to do it.
If left with no other choice, the DOT –– like the MTA on the L train –– should pick the most responsible option and construct the temporary elevated roadway, even if it means losing the promenade for six years.
It’s not an easy decision, but one that has to be made, and residents understand that. New York City will be better off once it’s complete.