Let’s face it—the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway is a critical piece of infrastructure in New York City. But it’s a little worse for the wear these days, not to mention its legacy of literally creating a dividing line throughout our Brooklyn neighborhoods, saddling residents with adverse health effects in the process (looking at you, Bobby Moses!)

While the thoroughfare continues to deteriorate every day, a new group is determined to do something about it. Meet the BQE Environmental Justice Coalition, made up of environmental justice advocates, elected officials, and other community organizations.  

The coalition kicked off this morning at the intersection of 3rd Avenue and 16th Street, where the BQE cuts through the Park Slope area. Elected officials from all over the borough joined, including Greenpoint and Williamsburg’s own Assemblymember Emily Gallagher, City Council Member Lincoln Restler, and City Council Member Jennifer Gutiérrez. The long-standing local nonprofit El Puente was also present. 

“The coalition specifically called for a comprehensive corridor-wide transformation of the BQE and for the immediate suspension of plans to rebuild the cantilever section of the BQE for another century of motor vehicles,” says a recent press release. “They emphasized the need for decisive action to correct environmental injustices, including addressing air pollution, traffic violence, and climate change affecting communities corridor-wide.”

The city’s current plans to rebuild the cantilever section would widen the lanes, which critics say would have adverse effects on reducing car dependency (thus, adverse effects on meeting our climate goals).


One project that the group hopes to implement is the BQGreen in Williamsburg, a park that’s been in the works for years. The BQGreen will sit on a concrete platform above a street-level part of the BQE.

While we’re here, a friendly reminder that part of the BQE will be closed to traffic this weekend. Get more details here.

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