Tuesday’s Headlines: Brooklyn-Queens ExpressWHY Edition

The Brooklyn-Queens Expressway just south of the Brooklyn Heights Promenade. Photo: Gersh Kuntzman
The Brooklyn-Queens Expressway just south of the Brooklyn Heights Promenade. Photo: Gersh Kuntzman

Here it is, people, the hashtag you’ve been looking for: #BrooklynQueensExpressWHY.

Yesterday, the papers were filled with details of Council Speaker Corey Johnson’s two possible repair schemes for the crumbling stretch of Robert Moses-era roadway rumbling under (and polluting the air above) Brooklyn Heights: an $11-billion tunnel (dead on arrival because of the cost and long build time) and a $3.2-billion highway buried under an expanded Brooklyn Bridge Park.

The news of the two Council-pushed plans was broken by the Times, then followed by the News, Gothamist, amNY and others, all more or less parroting the same basic line: The reconstruction of the highway is necessary and the only thing debatable is how, not why.

Well, we got Johnson on the phone ourselves and hammered on the “why.” Why must taxpayers in a car-owning-minority city once again enable drivers (even if it means more parkland for privileged Brooklyn Heights)? Shouldn’t this be open to discussion, especially given that congestion pricing will reduce the so-called “need” for the highway? And especially given that the long-term goal of every city — nay, ever person — in America must be to reduce our reliance on, and our fealty to, the automobile?

Johnson is a smart man, but on this issue, he declined to think creatively. The road is broken, so the road must be fixed, this line of thinking goes.

Well, our coverage is just beginning. #BrooklynQueensExpressWHY. Think about it. Here’s the rest of the news:

  • Gangway! Open-ended subway cars are coming in 2021! (NYDN)
  • Subway crime is apparently up. (NY Post)
  • The Daily News had more details on the death of pedestrian Dolores Soho on Sunday.
  • Two stars for the NY Rangers were shaken up in a crash — not accident! — on Ocean Avenue on Sunday. Details were limited because drivers tend to conveniently forget details about what happened when they hit something or someone — you know, details about whether they were speeding in their 2019 Porsche. (NY Post)
  • The MTA is giving intra-city LIRR riders a fare deal, but some board members are complaining about the generosity (WSJ). And the agency is also dramatically scaling back a program for disabled customers (WNYC).
  • The MTA’s first day without Andy Byford didn’t go so well for L-train riders. (Gothamist)
  • Steve Cuozzo’s latest anti-bike-lane rant is worth a hate-read — if only because it’s literal NIMBYism: the Sixth Avenue lane would run in front of his beloved newspaper’s office. (NY Post)
  • And, finally, you won’t be able to take your eyes off this eight-minute video of street scenes from New York City, shot in 1911 and lovingly restored by film editor Denis Shiryaev — if only for the hats and feeling of utter safety enjoyed by pedestrians. (Gothamist)

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Later today, Mayor de Blasio is going to deliver his State of the City speech, and one centerpiece is expected to be a new streetcar running from Sunset Park to Astoria along the Brooklyn-Queens waterfront. It’s an idea that’s surfaced repeatedly in one form or another as developers have transformed sections of the waterfront into new residential neighborhoods. As alluring […]