Today’s Headlines

  • Larry Littlefield

    RE: The BQE fix. There are two major back-ups on the northbound BQE. At the Gowanus merge, where everyone tries to squeeze right into two lanes, and at the Brooklyn Bridge exit.

    Both have the same source: an attempt to get to the free Brooklyn Bridge and avoid the paid Brooklyn Battery Tunnel.

    Now it may be possible to grab a whole bunch of land and create a massive queuing area to try to reduce the extent to which cars exiting for the bridge back up the highway. But I don’t see how it’s possible to add a third lane from the Gowanus to the BQE.

    None of this should even be necessary. Without toll shopping you’d have less traffic and fewer delays.

  • Niccolo Machiavelli

    There are more rebuild issues along that corridor as DOT has been unable to fix on a long term plan for the Gowanus Expressway itself (on-ramp for the Verrezano Bridge). There is only one hypenated word that fits into this problem, Toll-road.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “DOT has been unable to fix.”

    The fix is in. When the issue of the Gowanus Expressway rebuild, everyone wanted a $100 billion tunnel, which no one volunteered to pay for. So DOT has been spending lots of money on “studies” while working on a temporary fix for the road as is.

    Forget temporary. As I’ve said, looking at the broader economic and fiscal picture (particularly the public cost of services and income support for senior citizens) rather than just transportation, if it isn’t built by 2016 or so it isn’t going to be built at all.

  • If shoulders and extended ramps are needed for the BQE, they should be taken from the existing lanes, not from the surrounding streets and properties. The BQE is already narrowed to four lanes between the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges for this reason; that treatment should just be extended south to the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel.

    If motorists complain? Well, they didn’t want to pay to use the “free” Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges, and they don’t want to pay to use the tunnel. But they do want us to pay half a billion dollars to reconstruct the Brooklyn Bridge, and now millions to add shoulders to the BQE? They say not a dime for the MTA, I say not a dime for the State DOT.

    Also, there’s always the canal option.

  • Pursuant

    Cap’n Transit – Wow, that’s some really sour grapes you got there kid.

    Why would New York spite itself by denying State and Federal funds be used to rehabilitate an aging roadway in need of repair that would help ease congestion, and decrease accidents.

    What point are you making? I don’t get it.

    It’s hard enough to get money back down from Albany. The fact that the State doesn’t fund Public Transit is lamentable and a travesty, but not moving forward with this just because you want a recount on congestion pricing is disingenuous.

  • Recount? Hell, it’d be nice if we had a count on congestion pricing. But this is not about sour grapes. It’s about resource allocation.

    The word from Albany is that the budget is tight and we don’t have much money for anything – especially transit improvements. The Fulton Transit Center, the Second Avenue Subway, Select Bus Service – they’ve all had their timetables moved back.

    A few months ago, Governor Paterson asked everyone to find waste in state spending. Unnecessary expenses that need to be cut. Well, I found one: this BQE project. At a time like this we can ill-afford to spend our scarce dollars – and our expensive Cobble Hill real estate – to subsidize a highway that hasn’t paid for itself since it was built.

    I don’t want to see crashes, so I agree that the highway should be resurfaced. It’s proven to be too dangerous with a six-lane configuration, so it should be reduced to a safer four-lane configuration.

    Many people argued that we shouldn’t approve congestion pricing just because the Feds were willing to pay for it. I think the same holds true here: we shouldn’t waste money on an unwise highway expansion just because the State is willing to fund it (if it actually is).

    Ease congestion? There are all kinds of ways to do that; expanding the highway is the least likely to have its desired effect.

  • Or we could save even more money by turning it into a combination greenway and busway.

  • Pursuant

    Cap’n – You’ve identified this project as wasteful? I’m sorry, but you don’t know the first thing about this project, where the funding comes from what the proposal is or even where the proposed work is to take place.

    Your criteria that a road has to pay for itself is ludicrous. Do bike lanes pay for themselves? Absolutely not. Does public transit pay for itself? Emphatically no. These things exist to benefit the common good and cannot be merely reduced to a profit based return of value.

    140,000 vehicles pass through that stretch of roadway each day and the tolls from the Verazzano, the Triboro, the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel among others pay to subsidize my subway ride.

    From an engineering standpoint the road just wasn’t built to that capacity. Unfortunately, your whimsical proposal to further narrow this artery will result in more traffic, more pollution from idling cars and more trucks and traffic flooding the local thoroughfares and endangering bicylists and pedestrians.

    But you don’t want to think about that. Nor do you want to think about the businesses and jobs that need trucks to move goods through our city. Then you turn around and declare the DOT wildly out of control while the MTA wasting resources on the Ratner deal?

    You sound more like PFC Transit to me.