BQE Panel was the right call
Apr 09, 2019 | 2057 views | 0 0 comments | 185 185 recommendations | email to a friend | print
It’s easy to criticize Mayor Bill de Blasio when he’s wrong, and lately he’s made many questionable decisions.

But on the issue of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE) reconstruction project, we must give credit where credit is due.

Rather than plow ahead with a controversial plan to put a six-lane road on the revered Brooklyn Heights Promenade while fixing a crumbling portion of the highway underneath, de Blasio listened to the voices of residents and advocates.

Last week, he announced the creation of an expert panel to study all of the options and proposals on the table. The panel will submit their conclusions this summer, just in time before the DOT begins its environmental review process.

There are many good plans to consider. Comptroller Scott Stringer’s plan to create a truck-only thruway and a two-mile linear park is a refreshingly bold idea.

So is the Brooklyn-Queens Park idea, concocted by the design firm Bjarke Ingels Group. To develop neighborhood-connected green spaces in place of a polluted highway puts residents first.

No plan is perfect; here are many variables to weigh. The Stringer plan, for example, expects fewer cars to take the BQE and more people to take public transit, but there is no guarantee that will happen.

But that’s the exact reason why we need a panel to carefully study these plans. The city, in collaboration with the panel and residents, must fully understand the pros and cons of each proposal and come to a unified decision.

That’s the only way to move forward on a project of this magnitude and importance to the region.

Along the way, the de Blasio administration must communicate regularly and be transparent with residents and stakeholders. Otherwise, we’re back to square one with this project.
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