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Brooklyn-Queens Expressway

Wall Street Journal Scribe Joins Streetsblog in Calling for BQE Teardown

The Brooklyn-Queens Expressway is in danger of collapse. Photo: Gersh Kuntzman

Why not tear the whole thing down?

That's the right question being posed about the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway this morning in a Wall Street Journal op-ed by reporter Anne Kadet.

Kadet's piece argues that a boulevard-style roadway — like the, ahem, West Side Highway conversion decades ago — might lead to "economic development and improved livability."

We came up with the same idea when the city announced its plan in September to rebuild the portion of the BQE under the Brooklyn Heights Promenade. So we asked New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg about it.

"I read what SB had to say," Trottenberg said. "Here's the challenge: for better or for worse, this roadway right now is carrying 153,000 vehicles a day — a lot of trucks — and a lot of that traffic is within the city. ... A lot of trucks are delivering food, furniture goods you name it. ... A part of me would love to say we could do without this roadway, but I just think from what we've seen even when you see the smallest of delays or crashes on this roadway, the backups can be catastrophic."

Trottenberg admitted that she shares Streetsblog's "desire to see a city someday that has far fewer vehicles and doesn't need a massive highway," but added, "I don't think that's where the city is right now."

Streetsblog asked her about massive tolls on the BQE to at least make drivers pay their fair share, but Trottenberg declined a full answer.

"That's not my department," she said. "I'm working with the hand I'm dealt."

Watch the full, exciting video below:

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