Hundreds of people packed together on the Promenade Saturday to demand that DOT exercise more accountability and transparency in its planning for the BQE Project, provide prompt answers to the BHA’s proposed Parallel Highway concept, and develop its own alternatives to the reviled 6-lane Promenade Highway.
The BHA, which has proposed a two-tiered temporary highway parallel to the triple cantilever along the easternmost edge of the park, is currently preparing renderings of this concept for public release.
In addition to the voices from the BHA, A Better Way and Cadman Towers, rally-goers heard from a battery of elected officials: Comptroller Scott Stringer, Senator Brian Kavanagh, Assembly Members Jo Anne Simon and Latrice Walker, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, and representatives of Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez and Council Member Stephen Levin.
The BHA particularly thanks Comptroller Stringer for organizing the rally and Borough President Adams for his strong condemnation of the Promenade Highway.
In his press statement, Comptroller Stringer attacked DOT for its lack of transparency and meaningful engagement with the community: “No project can succeed without community input and the planning process for the BQE renovation has failed that basic standard. The City must consider a wider range of options to ensure
this project does not unnecessarily burden the Brooklyn Heights community.”
Borough President Eric Adams was unmistakably direct: “Let me very clear, so there is no misunderstanding. …I am against the damn plan as it stands. Pure and simple.”
In contrast to Adams’s unwavering opposition, Assembly Member Simon made tepid remarks about DOT talking a careful look at the “berm plan” and its need to take time to analyze the engineering considerations behind the BHA concept, which incited jeers from the crowd.
BHA Executive Director Peter Bray said the BHA’s message was simple:
• We reject the 6-lane Promenade Highway.
• We demand a solution that does not destroy our neighborhood.
• We demand that DOT respond to the BHA alternative we presented in November.
Contesting the DOT’s assertion that the 6-lane highway would expedite the BQE’s reconstruction and prevent massive traffic backups, Bray stated that the Promenade Highway “will itself require innumerable lane closures, traffic diversions, and years of nighttime construction that will utterly destroy the tranquility of our residential community.”
He further called for “smart solutions” to protect all neighborhoods along the BQE, including those to the north and south of Brooklyn Heights, while chastising DOT for its lack of responsiveness to the BHA’s proposal.
Bray vowed that in the days and weeks ahead the BHA will join with the entire community to carry the fight for the Battle of the BQE to City Hall, Albany and Washington, to the media, and if necessary, into the courtroom, to ensure that a better solution prevails.
The BHA urges the community to write to Comptroller Stringer and Borough President Adams to thank them for clearly standing up for the community, while asking Representative Velazquez and Council Member Levin to take a stronger stand; they have been supportive of our position but have not been as clear as Borough President Adams was on Saturday that the Promenade Highway must be rejected. The BHA also urges the community to write to Senator Kavanagh and Assembly Member Simon to implore them to squarely oppose the Promenade Highway and not view it as a viable
Read media coverage of the rally from the Gothamist, and the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.
Contact information for our elected officials:
Representative Nydia Velazquez: 718-222-5819
Comptroller Scott Stringer: email@example.com 212-669-3916
Borough President Eric Adams: firstname.lastname@example.org 718-802-3700
Senator Brian Kavanagh: email@example.com 718-875-1517 or 212-298-5565
Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon: firstname.lastname@example.org 718-246-4889
Council Member Stephen Levin email@example.com 718-875-5200