December 13, 2022
BQE Central Preliminary Design Concepts Would Improve Safety and Public Space, Repair and Redesign Area From Atlantic Avenue to Sands Street
BQE Community Partners Will Lead Corridor-Wide Community Engagement and Resident Empowerment Planning Effort
Adams Administration Accelerating Long-Term Fix to BQE Central, Undertaking Equitable Planning Effort to Reconnect Communities Along Entire Corridor
New York – New York City Mayor Eric Adams today marked a new phase in his effort to accelerate a long-term fix and redesign for the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE), unveiling preliminary design concepts for a re-envisioned BQE Central, the city-owned section of the BQE from Atlantic Avenue to Sands Street. The concepts offer a modernized, resilient structure with significant public space upgrades for community members and visitors as well as safety upgrades for pedestrians, drivers, and cyclists. The design concepts and an abbreviated version of the presentation given at tonights public meeting are available online.
Continuing to advance the BQE North and South planning effort, the administration also named a diverse group of 17 organizations to serve as BQE Corridor Vision Community Partners. Representing communities all along the BQE corridor from Bay Ridge to Red Hook to Greenpoint, with a focus on underrepresented communities and multilingual capabilities, these community-based organizations will help DOT advance a transparent and inclusive community organizing process to explore short- and long-term improvements to equitably connect BQE North and South communities that were divided by the highway. In a first for DOT, the agency will invest roughly $500,000 to work with these organizations doing grassroots-level community engagement.
"Now is the time to think big. We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to build a BQE for the 21st century and transform an environmental and aesthetic nightmare into a dream come true for our city," said Mayor Adams. "This is just step one. But these concepts push the boundaries and fully explore what is possible for BQE Central, and we are excited to hear from New Yorkers as we determine which one will become a reality."
"Today, we reach the first of many milestones in the most complex and necessary infrastructure projects in New York City – and likely in the nation," said Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi.
"We didnt get here alone. Hundreds of people who live near, travel through, and rely on the BQE daily provided their thoughts, which our design and engineering experts relied on, to prepare several possibilities to reimagine the triple cantilever. And thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, funding opportunities are on the horizon to deliver a reconstructed triple cantilever and a reimagined corridor."
"We are urgently pursuing a long-term fix for the city-owned portion of the BQE in Brooklyn, while taking a bold, corridor-wide approach to address the entire structure and reconnect communities throughout Brooklyn divided by this highway," said DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez. "These concepts represent ambitious ideas for how the city can reimagine BQE Central to improve neighborhood public space and quality of life. I welcome all organizations selected to be community partners, which will help DOT meaningfully connect with underserved communities across Brooklyn and advance equitable, multilingual, inclusive planning."
In response to community feedback, the administration worked with the Triple Cantilever Developers Joint Venture team – consisting of Bjarke Ingels Group, Parsons Corporation, SCAPE Landscape Architecture, and WXY – to develop a variety of feasible, resilient, and community-responsive concepts that improve public spaces across Brooklyn Heights, DUMBO, and Columbia Heights, while better connecting the Brooklyn Heights Promenade and Brooklyn Bridge Park. Covering the area from Atlantic Avenue to Sands Street, including the triple cantilever, the concepts also include potential pedestrian and bicycle safety upgrades in the neighborhood, including better cycling infrastructure and more welcoming pedestrian connections. Design concepts are subject to further feasibility studies and review, as well as community feedback, to determine their viability.
These broad concepts will be further refined and updated to share with the community at a third series of public workshops in February 2023 would position the administration to begin the federal environmental review process in Spring 2023. The environmental impact review process – likely to require the preparation of an environmental impact statement – will offer additional opportunities for substantive community feedback over approximately two years.
DOT has identified 17 community organizations to serve as BQE community partners and advise on, and improve transparency around, the public engagement process. The community partners include groups that serve a range of underrepresented communities and specialize in multilingual engagement to ensure that communities historically left out of conversations about the future of the BQE could participate in this effort. Community partners include: