Update

In March 2016, Assemblyman Robert Rodriquez and 14 co-sponsors introduced legislation in the NYS Assembly to implement the Move NY Fair Plan.  No Republicans were willing to sponsor it in the NYS Senate. Neither Governor Cuomo nor Mayor de Blasio exerted much, if any, political will to promote its passage.  By the end of the legislative session, no action occurred on the plan.

About This Issue

2.3.3_MOVE_NY_LOGOThe MoveNY Fair Plan was developed by transportation and planning advocates to address the growing crisis in the City’s transportation system, which suffers from inadequate service, crumbling infrastructure, soaring fares and tolls, and an insufficient funding mechanism.  Due to declining government funding, the MTA has used bonds to pay for its operations and capital projects, which has resulted in four fare and toll increases since 2009 to cover the increased debt burden. The chronic underfunding of the region’s transportation system contributes to massive traffic congestion, which costs the local economy an estimated $16 billion annually, according to the MoveNY sponsors.


A Master Plan for Change

MoveNY was formed to build support for a master transportation plan for the metropolitan region and is a coalition of regional business groups, trade unions, community leaders, and transportation and environmental advocates, among others.  The plan would establish a more equitable system for generating revenue to maintain and improve the transit and highway network by equalizing tolls throughout the city and dedicating those revenues to transportation improvements. Currently, drivers crossing bridges in the outer boroughs, where transit options are scarce, pay high tolls while motorists crossing the East River bridges into Manhattan’s core incur no tolls, even though transit options in and to Manhattan are readily available and traffic congestion there is the worst.

Under the MoveNY Plan, motorists would pay $5.54 with EZPass (or $8 without EZPass) to enter or exit Manhattan south of 60th Street but would incur reduced tolls on most East River crossings with origins or destinations outside of the core.  The plan would lower  existing tolls on seven MTA bridges, including the Verrazano, Throgs Neck and Whitestone.  Taxis and other for-hire vehicles would be surcharged for trips south of 96th Street on the East Side and south of 110th Street on the West Side. E-Z Pass would collect tolls electronically, while vehicles without E-Z Pass would be charged by optical scanners.  Tolls could also be adjusted for “time of day” so that tolls could be reduced during off peak periods, such as evenings and weekends.

The Plan would raise an estimated $1.5 billion annually: 25% would be used to improve roads and bridges, particularly the four East River bridges, and 75% would go towards transit projects. Transit improvements could include technology that would allow the MTA to increase the frequency of train service, the installation of a new contact-less fare collection system, and expanded bus service.

BHA Support: Contingent on Residential Permit Parking

The Move NY Plan would require enabling legislation from the State. In March 2015, the BHA conducted a community survey and received 250 responses, of which 72% supported the plan.  The BHA board approved a motion in April 2015 in favor of the MoveNY Plan contingent on Residential Permit Parking being implemented to ensure that drivers from other areas do not park on Brooklyn Heights streets to complete their journey into Manhattan by train.  The board also called for restoring the B51 bus service connecting downtown Brooklyn to Manhattan.


Learn More

More information on the MoveNY Fair Plan can be found in this executive summary and this more detailed presentation.

 Update

Following further advocacy by the BHA, which reflected input from nearby residents, DOT has committed to installing a 22nd speed hump within the next year on Hicks Street north of Clark Street.

About this Issue   

2.3.2_Slow_Zone_Map_SMALLThe Slow Zone Program was created by the City to reduce the speed limit within select neighborhoods from 30 mph to 20 mph using speed humps, signage, and stepped-up enforcement, all of which aim to change driver behavior. The program’s goal is to reduce the number and severity of vehicular crashes and injuries to both drivers and pedestrians.  Where Slow Zones have been implemented in New York City, the result has been a 10-15% decrease in speeds, 10% reduction in crashes with injuries, and 27% reduction in vehicle injuries.

The NYC Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) selected Brooklyn Heights in 2013 as one of 15 new Slow Zones to be implemented citywide. Brooklyn Heights’ selection reflected the strength of the BHA’s application, which emphasized the number of schools and day care centers and the extensive support of residents, elected officials, and other stakeholders. Over 90% of the 560 individuals who responded to the BHA survey and lived in the neighborhood favored the Slow Zone.

In September 2015, DOT installed 21 speed humps throughout Brooklyn Heights, which will increase to 22 in 2016.  These humps rise gradually and extend only partly into the parking lane.

 Learn More

2.3.2_SLOWZONE_20_MILE_SLOWMore information on the Brooklyn Heights Slow Zone can be found here.

Update

The NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) began a 5-year planning process in Spring 2016 in preparation for rehabilitating the BQE Triple Cantilever.  At a June 29th public meeting, DOT reviewed the project’s goals, milestones and timeframe, as outlined here. As an initial step, the agency has initiated a detailed examination of the 21 bridge structures that comprise this section to determine their condition and the scope of repairs.  It will also select an engineering firm to explore various rehabilitation options, including measures to mitigate adverse environmental effects, such as maintaining traffic flow while construction proceeds. As part of this study, the firm will perform a detailed environmental analysis.  Along with replacing deficient structural elements, DOT’s plans will involve upgrading the highway’s roadways and ramps to make them safer for the 140,000 vehicles that use the BQE daily.  DOT expects construction to begin in 2021 or 2022 and be complted by 2026. To expedite the project and lower the cost, the City will seek authorization by the State Legislature for a design-build approach.  While design options have yet to be fully formulated, DOT has ruled out as infeasible any of the tunnel options that were considered in an earlier round of planning.

About This Issue

2.3.1_BQE_CANTILEVER_ACCT_WORKSHOPThe BQE, also known as I-278, was built in the 1940s with a 1-1/2 mile structure known as the “triple cantilever”  that extends from south of Atlantic Avenue to Sands Street, just north of the Manhattan Bridge. It carries eastbound and westbound traffic on separate levels under the world-famous Promenade. While the BQE is owned by the NYS Department of Transportation, it is maintained by the NYC Department of Transportation.

Now nearing 80 years old, the triple cantilever is in serious need of reconstruction due to structural deterioration and the requirement to bring the highway up to modern standards with regard to lane widths, truck clearances and road and ramp geometries.  When the reconstruction is begun, the BQE’s traffic will have to rerouted for years, including the potential for moving it onto a nearby temporary structure, to maintain essential connections to the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges, local streets and the regional highway network.  The planning for the project will be concerned as well with minimizing its environmental impacts on Brooklyn Heights and adjacent neighborhoods.

The City has allocated $1.7 billion for the project in its 10-year capital budget, but additional funding is likely required from federal and state sources.  The BHA will be an active participant in the ongoing planning process and work with other stakeholders to advocate for a rebuilding option that is least disruptive to the community while providing benefits for Brooklyn Heights residents.  For that reason, the plan must also address (1) improving access to Brooklyn Bridge Park to relieve the burden currently experienced by Joralemon Street residents, and (2) improving the design of the areas through which the highway passes on the north and south ends of the cantilever, which include many currently unusable open space parcels.

Learn More

Planning for the BQE cantilever project is a complex undertaking that has been going on for many years. To understand more about the complexity of this project, click here to view the results of a planning workshop conducted in 2006.