By Matthew Kudrick
The New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT) is developing plans to reimagine the space in and around the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE) between Atlantic Avenue and the Kosciusko Bridge and held one of its first community outreach meetings in Williamsburg on February 16. The plan is part of a larger effort by the Eric Adams administration to redesign the BQE with environmental resiliency, social equity, fiscal responsibility, and community involvement in mind.
The discussion was facilitated by St. Nicks Alliance and focused on the BQE North segment which runs through Williamsburg and Greenpoint from Sands Street to the Kosciusko Bridge. The NYC DOT is gathering community input to help it shape both short-term and long-term goals for the project. Short-term objectives include improving public spaces, safety, and mobility along the BQE corridor. Longer term, the NYC DOT hopes to design and implement a vision to reconnect communities that were historically torn apart by the construction of the BQE in the 1940s.
The attendees included residents from the surrounding neighborhoods along BQE North who universally expressed their desire to see safety upgrades, mixed-use facilities, and green spaces. With daily traffic on the BQE exceeding 130,000 vehicles including 13,000 trucks, it has earned the nickname “Asthma Alley”. Local residents are hoping to change that with bold long-term ideas for the BQE corridor including parks, landscaping, sports fields, retail, markets, murals, and event spaces. In the short term, they would like to see better safety measures such as lighting, curb extensions, and protected bike lanes. One source of inspiration for the community was the recently completed Under the K Bridge Park, formerly an abandoned site under the BQE that was converted into a vibrant seven-acre open space with landscaping and community events.
The work of the NYC DOT is only beginning as development plans may run through 2031 across different stretches of the BQE corridor including BQE North. There may also be challenges in coordinating efforts with the New York State DOT which operate certain elements of the BQE corridor. Despite the long road ahead, community engagement will guide Mayor Adams’ and NYC DOT’s decisions about the future of the BQE corridor so participation is highly encouraged in upcoming public workshops and pop-up events which will run through 2023.
The next BQE North workshop will be held in person on Thursday, March 23, from 6:30-8:30 PM at John Ericsson M.S. 126 (Cafeteria) located at 424 Leonard Street. A virtual session will take place the following Monday, March 27, from 6:30-8:30 PM but advanced registration is required. For more information including how to register, please visit https://bqevision.com/
Thank you so much for shedding light on the DOT’s plans for the BQE. As a community member, this article is impactful as it is informative. Hope to see more! 🙂
Great article on this community expansion project. It, along with some others in these areas of Brooklyn, is long overdue.
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