By Paula Katinas
BROOKLYN HEIGHTS — The state plans to pump $300 million into infrastructure repairs in New York City, and state Sen. Daniel Squadron (D-Brooklyn Heights) says some of that money should be used for the traffic-clogged Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE).
Squadron called on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to use a portion of the funding to restore an Environmental Impact Study (EIS) for the BQE to determine what should be done to address the deteriorating highway. The New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) scrapped the EIS last month after officials deemed that money was too tight to continue the study.
But Squadron said funds for an EIS could become available as soon as the governor signs into law a bill recently approved by the state legislature to pay for infrastructure projects around the state.
Borough President Marty Markowitz Thursday asked Gov. Andrew Cuomo to override the state Department of Transportation’s (DOT’s) decision to terminate environmental impact studies for the “cantilever” section of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway near Brooklyn Heights and the elevated Gowanus Expressway in the southern part of the borough. Markowitz reminded the governor that the studies were ordered because these roadways were plagued with “insufficient capacity and structural decay.” If the studies are not performed, he said, plans for renovations can’t go forward, and these problems — as well as pollution — will only get worse.
Brooklynites Slam State’s Canceling Of BQE Studies
Cantilever Structure Still At Risk, They Say
At the right of this photo is the unusual “cantilever” structure that supports both the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and the Brooklyn Heights Promenade. Eagle file photo.
By Raanan Geberer
BROOKLYN — Officials and civic leaders were stunned and disappointed at the news that the state Department of Transportation (DOT) has canceled environmental impact studies for two sections of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway.
The first segment extends from Atlantic Avenue north to Sands Street, including the unusual triple-cantilever structure beneath the Brooklyn Heights Promenade. The second segment, referred to as the Gowanus Expressway, extends from Sixth Avenue to the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel.
The decision was made because of the state’s financial problems and a shortage of available funds, said an e-mail from planner Naomi Doerner that the Eagle received earlier this week.
The cancellation does not, despite initial reports, include the BQE “ditch” through Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens, long an object of agitation in those communities. A study on re-doing the “ditch” was actually completed, although, says Cobble Hill Association President Roy Sloane, “there are no dollars for implementation.”
Remember those drawings of attractive proposals to redesign the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway in the area of the Carroll Gardens “ditch?” Well, they’ve been put on hold indefinitely. The state Department of Transportation (DOT) sent out an e-mail Tuesday stating that it is terminating the environmental study of the BQE.
“In these financially difficult times,” reads the e-mail, “NYSDOT is making strategic choices to make the best use of our limited resources … The alternatives being explored in the environmental study far exceed the financial resources available to us now and for the foreseeable future.”
By Mary Frost
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
BROOKLYN — The union representing the city’s school bus drivers is threatening a system-wide strike unless drivers who transport special-ed pre-K students and “early intervention” pre-K children are protected under a new contract.
The contract for these services expires in June 2012, and the Department of Education (DOE) has put out a bid for a new one.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Friday that the union’s request is illegal. “The law mandates that we seek bids from bus companies in a competitive fashion; it prohibits us from doing what the union wants,” he said.
Squadron Fields Questions at Heights Meeting
By Raanan Geberer
BROOKLYN HEIGHTS — Transportation of all types — bicycles, cars, helicopters, subways, buses and even motorcycles — took center stage at state Sen. Daniel Squadron’s community meeting at the Dodge YMCA on Tuesday night.
Another popular topic was that of Brooklyn Bridge Park. Those parts of the park that have already been opened, at Piers 1 and 6, have been very successful in attracting visitors. The type of funding that will be used to operate the park, however, has been a controversial topic.