New York Construction Report staff writer
Preliminary designs for the redevelopment of Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE) from Atlantic Avenue to Sands Street were unveiled at a public meeting this week. Concepts offer a modernized, resilient structure with significant public space and safety upgrades.
Also, Mayor Eric Adams named a diverse group of 17 organizations to serve as BQE Corridor Vision Community Partners. With a focus on underrepresented communities and multilingual capabilities, community-based organizations will help the Department of Transportation get community members involved in improvements to equitably.
DOT will contribute $500,000 for grassroots-level community engagement.
“Now is the time to think big,” Adams said. “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.
“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.”
The city worked with the Triple Cantilever Developers Joint Venture team – including Bjarke Ingels Group, Parsons Corporation, SCAPE Landscape Architecture, and WXY – to develop a variety of feasible 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.
“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.”
Concepts will be further refined and updated to share with the community at a third series of public workshops in February 2023. The environmental impact review process – likely to require the preparation of an environmental impact statement – will begin in spring 2023 and last about two years.