|Until now, the City has been moving full steam ahead with their BQE reconstruction plans for a 6-lane interstate highway at our doorsteps that would devastate our neighborhoods - from the loss of Promenade access to an increase in dangerous air pollution to a traffic congestion nightmare.
But the BHA has been relentless in opposing the DOT plan. And thanks to the thousands of community members who've spoken up, we are proud to report that in a New York Times story today the city is finally responding to our calls for action by agreeing to consider other options.
As you know, we’ve been diligently working with the community to offer alternative plans and bring the City back to the table. As BHA’s President Martha Bakos Dietz said, “It’s great to oppose something, but it’s always better to have something else to propose.” The Times’ story highlighted the BHA’s alternative concept, presented to DOT last November, of a 2-tiered, temporary parallel bypass at the easternmost edge of the park that would remove traffic from our neighborhood while permitting the rebuilding of the
cantilever to proceed unhindered and more quickly and without the devastating environmental impacts of the Promenade Highway.
According to the article: Ms. Trottenberg said she expects to end up with four to six options, including the BHA’s, which will be weighed in public discussions as part of a thorough review process that will last about two years. “We certainly acknowledge that the two we led with were extremely controversial,” she said.
Hundreds have rallied, and tens of thousands have made calls, sent emails, and contacted public officials on social media and through petitions.
As recently as a few weeks ago, the City was still silent on our concerns. But our voices were heard loud and clear, just as BHA’s Richard F. Ziegler told the Times, “The shame or tragedy of where we find ourselves is: Their mind-set is to rebuild what was opened in 1954 and yet we all know that going forward, transportation needs are going to be vastly different.”
And today we have taken an important first step in the right direction, with the city saying they are hearing what we and our community have to say and re-assessing their plans. Stay tuned for updates and ways we can continue to build on our momentum!
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