BQE underpass to get a facelift
by Andrew Pavia
Dec 19, 2012 | 2029 views | 0 0 comments | 49 49 recommendations | email to a friend | print
One thing that is not associated with the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE) underpass connecting Brooklyn Bridge Park and Downtown Brooklyn is “beauty.” However, that may change as the Atlantic Avenue Business Improvement District (BID) won a $75,000 grant to fix up the underpass.

The goal is to transform the underpass into an “inviting gateway” linking Pier 6 of Brooklyn Bridge Park and the shops on Atlantic Avenue. Over the years, the underpass has become an eyesore, dissuading pedestrian use.

In a statement released by the Atlantic Avenue BID the need for this beautification was made known. “The park is a destination but going there requires visitors to traverse a dirty and unpleasant underpass,” read a statement from the Atlantic Avenue BID. “This grant will facilitate a much better connection between Atlantic Avenue's diverse mix of retail and this distinctive park.”

With the help of New York City's Department of Small Business Services and Deputy Mayor Robert Steele, Atlantic Avenue BID was granted the $75,000 in seed money to get the project rolling. However, Josef Szende, executive director of the BID, said that the money is significant but not enough for the whole project.

Szende said that he was hopeful the rest of the funding could come from Councilman Steve Levin's participatory budgeting process. Under this program, community members nominate specific projects they think deserve $1 million in discretionary funding.

The BID is wasting little time, as they are already working to put together a proposal that includes lighting, way-finding signs, artwork and interactive experiences. While these plans are a blueprint, Szende said that nothing is set in stone yet because the BID will continue to seek public approval for all aspects of the project.

Helping the BID will be the Design Trust for Public Space, which will manage a participatory design process that will arrive at a “ready-to-build” design by the end of 2013.

“The project will be a game changer for Atlantic Avenue, sparking interest to walk all the way down the avenue and connect all of our destination shopping and dining with this destination park,” said Szende.

“It is also a quality of life issue for us,” said one resident of Brooklyn Bridge Park Condominiums, “the local residents who currently walk through a disgusting corridor to move back and forth between a fantastic waterfront park and an energetic and developing commercial area.”
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