Congestion On Purpose

David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member
For decades we have seen the lobbyists at Transportation Alternatives push city government to remove parking spaces and cause congestion on purpose. It's my opinion that not only is this bad for small businesses hut actually causes more pollution.
 

David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member
NY Governor, Mayor, etc are still acting as if all the public transportation should bring people to Midtown even as companies are fleeing the area.

Putting a tax on cars trying to enter won't help. City council members know this, which is why so many voted for it to drive more business away from Manhattan below 60th St and towards their districts. (Plus getting lobbied by Uber/Lyft to cause congestion on purpose).
 

David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member
It is unfortunate that it has gotten to this point. I applaud Mayor Adams for recognizing the urgency, but he needed to get in his horse back when he was Brooklyn Borough President.

"Hank Gutman, a former transportation commissioner under Mr. de Blasio who was a member of the B.Q.E. panel, said it was “wishful thinking” to believe a new plan could be adopted, approved and built before the structure becomes unsafe. “They have run out of time and options without employing the measures that we announced and adopted last year,” he said."

The B.Q.E. Is Crumbling. There’s Still No Plan to Fix It.
Mayor Eric Adams wants to jump-start the project, but some critics have raised safety concerns.
The Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, known as the B.Q.E., was built in the 1940s. In 2016, city officials warned that if nothing was done, they would have to restrict trucks by 2026.

The Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, known as the B.Q.E., was built in the 1940s. In 2016, city officials warned that if nothing was done, they would have to restrict trucks by 2026.

The Brooklyn-Queens Expressway is slowly crumbling from the road salt and moisture that has weakened its concrete-and-steel foundation, and from all the overweight trucks that it was never designed to carry.
But six years after New York City officials sounded the alarm over the B.Q.E., there is still no consensus about what to do with this vital but outdated highway from the 1940s, which carries 129,000 vehicles a day.
At least a half-dozen plans have been floated, fractious public meetings and rallies have been held and a mayoral panel of experts worked for more than a year to come up with more options.

“It’s been a lot of effort just trying not to make things worse, but we haven’t been able to make it better,” said Jake Brooks, 47, a law professor, whose apartment building sits beside the B.Q.E. and shakes from the vibrations of cars and trucks hitting potholes and bumps.

Now, the saga of the B.Q.E. is taking another turn as Mayor Eric Adams aims to start construction within five years on a yet-to-be-developed plan to fix the highway. That upends a proposal made in 2021 by Mr. Adams’s predecessor, Bill de Blasio, to temporarily shore up the highway for 20 years at a cost of more than $500 million to give the city more time to work out a permanent solution.
“Our moment is right now,” Mr. Adams said in a statement. “I will not wait decades and needlessly spend hundreds of millions of additional taxpayer dollars when we can and must start rebuilding this vital transportation artery today.”
Fast-tracking the project, the mayor added, will allow the city to potentially tap into billions in new federal infrastructure funds that were unlocked by the Biden administration and use them to help pay for one of the city’s most expensive transportation projects. Under federal legislation passed last year, cities can apply for grants each year until 2026.

“We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to access the federal funding necessary to reimagine and rebuild the B.Q.E. that a post-pandemic economy and city demand, and we are seizing it,” Mr. Adams said.

The mayor — who has a closer working relationship with Gov. Kathy Hochul than Mr. de Blasio did with former Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo — is also in “active discussions” with state officials about overhauling the entire highway, which runs about 18 miles, instead of focusing on just the 1.5-mile section that the city controls, city officials said.

But some elected officials, community leaders and residents have questioned whether the city really can implement a new plan in just five years and have expressed concerns about cutting back on extensive repairs to shore up the existing structure in the meantime.
“There are no easy solutions; if there were, we would have done it many years ago,” said Brooklyn city councilman Lincoln Restler, who has criticized the Adams administration for not aggressively carrying out repairs. “This has been kicked down the road because it is so hard.”

Hank Gutman, a former transportation commissioner under Mr. de Blasio who was a member of the B.Q.E. panel, said it was “wishful thinking” to believe a new plan could be adopted, approved and built before the structure becomes unsafe. “They have run out of time and options without employing the measures that we announced and adopted last year,” he said.
The B.Q.E. was built in sections between 1944 and 1948 during the era of Robert Moses, the influential planner who expanded the city’s roadways. Long known for narrow lanes and potholes, the highway also has a cherished feature: a pedestrian promenade in Brooklyn Heights with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline that is suspended over traffic by an unusual triple cantilever structure.
The roadway is supported by steel rebars inside concrete. They are corroding from road salt that seeped in through cracks, which have widened from freezing and thawing and moisture.

Sign up for the New York Today Newsletter Each morning, get the latest on New York businesses, arts, sports, dining, style and more. Get it sent to your inbox.
In 2016, city officials announced they would rehabilitate the 1.5-mile section between Atlantic Avenue and Sands Street in Brooklyn, warning that if nothing was done, they would have to restrict trucks by 2026 to reduce the weight on the highway.

The B.Q.E. panel later concluded the highway was deteriorating even faster, in part because of all the trucks exceeding the 40-ton federal weight limit. At the panel’s urging, two of the six lanes were eliminated last August, which has reduced vehicle traffic.

In 2018, city officials presented two options to rebuild the highway, which were rejected by critics, including Mr. Adams, then the Brooklyn borough president. One plan called for closing the Brooklyn Heights promenade for up to six years and erecting a temporary highway over it to redirect traffic while work occurred below.
Many of these critics envisioned a city with fewer cars and saw the B.Q.E. overhaul as an opportunity to do something about the worsening traffic that has choked neighborhoods with gridlock and pollution and made streets more dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists.

Counterproposals were floated. The City Council weighed in with an $11 billion plan to tear down the highway and replace it with a three-mile-long tunnel. Scott Stringer, the former city comptroller, proposed limiting part of the highway to trucks and converting another part into a two-mile-long park.
There will be no consensus on the B.Q.E., said Samuel I. Schwartz, a transportation engineer who has worked on the highway. He recommended that Mr. Adams and Ms. Hochul just set a deadline to come up with a new plan — and then move ahead with it over almost certain opposition.
“The city and state have to be together on this,” he said. “If they’re willing to commit to a decision one year from now, then it’s a good plan.”

Hazel Crampton-Hays, a spokeswoman for the governor, said, “The state is ready to support the city on the rehabilitation project, including by securing federal infrastructure funding.”

City officials said they will continue making necessary highway repairs, including some laid out in Mr. de Blasio’s 20-year plan. They have set aside $100 million for a dedicated contractor to make repairs identified by regular inspections. Sensors were also installed on the cantilever last year to monitor its vibrations and movements.
Next year, the city will begin rebuilding parts of two deteriorating bridge sections near Grace Court and Clark Street in Brooklyn, which will allow restrictions on trucks to be delayed until 2028. An automated ticketing system to enforce truck weight limits is to go into operation early next year.
Because Mr. Adams wants to initiate a more permanent fix to the B.Q.E. within five years and is committed to current expressway repairs, city officials said that longer-term repairs, like extensive work on bridge decks and joints, will no longer be necessary.
But in recent months, many community leaders and residents have grown increasingly frustrated and concerned over what they see as the city’s lack of transparency and urgency about the expressway.

Pia Scala-Zankel, a writer whose family’s brownstone in Brooklyn Heights overlooks a section of the expressway, said that she has not seen any repairs being made below her home over the past year. She has repeatedly asked the city transportation agency for an update on the repairs, but has heard nothing. “It’s like a slap in the face,” she said.
Mr. Restler, the city councilman, said that any B.Q.E. plan would require “a meaningful degree of community consensus,” given the complex governmental approvals and environmental reviews required. “No plan can be shoved down our throats by City Hall or anyone else,” he said.

Administration officials said they have been taking time to review the B.Q.E. project and will commence public meetings this month to work with the community on a new expedited plan.

Lara Birnback, the executive director of the Brooklyn Heights Association, a leading neighborhood voice, said that local residents and drivers would welcome a plan sooner rather than later, though she noted, “There are so many caveats and ifs there — all of the pieces would have to line up in the right way for that to be feasible.”

She added that many in the community hope the city will do more than simply patch up the aging highway.
“We’ve moved beyond that,” she said. “People would be upset not to see something more transformative, more green and more 21st century.”
 

David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member
It's pretty clear that TransAlt and the MTA are out of step with not only the majority of New Yorkers but even the Mayor.
"NYC Mayor Eric Adams calls for ‘exemptions’ to Manhattan congestion fees"

Congestion pricing exemptions unlikely, MTA review board member says
 

David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member

Public weighs in on NYC's congestion pricing plan at 1st public hearing​

Nearly 400 people signed up to speak, and 81 actually got a chance to do so.

The MTA is giving New Yorkers a chance to weigh in on its controversial congestion pricing plan.

The agency held the first of six virtual public hearings Thursday night, and while nearly 400 people signed up to speak, 81 actually got a chance to do so.

The agency's plan calls for tolling drivers between $9 and $23 a day to drive south of 60th Street.

During off-peak hours, the toll would be between $7 and $17. Overnight, the rate would drop to between $5 and $12.

It is part of a plan to raise a billion dollars for subway and bus improvements while also limited congestion in the heart of Manhattan.

Thursday night's virtual public hearing was jammed with drivers and others, most of whom blasted the idea and demanded discounts and exemptions.

The hearing started at 5 p.m. and stretched nearly seven hours, finally wrapping up at 11:40 p.m.

Here's a sample of what MTA officials heard:

"It's going to be the death of lower Manhattan, and all the businesses are going to move out anyway," said NYC resident Suzette. "If you guys are gonna tell me I need to pay $23 to take my car out every day, it's outrageous."

"We do not have adequate mass transit service and yet we're expected to pay for your bloated and out of control agency," said Assemblyman Mike Lawler from the 97th Assembly District.

"I think that this plan will be able to save lives by decreasing the levels of traffic violence currently in our streets, streets that are belong to the public and belong to all of us," said Felipe Castillo.

"We're trying to get more people to come back to our city, and I think this is going to have a detrimental impact on that," said NY Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis.

"Congestion pricing is set to be a win-win-win for the city economy, transit system, traffic reduction efforts and overall safety," said Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso.

Taxi, Uber and Lyft drivers are begging Gov. Kathy Hochul for some relief, worried they will be run out of business if the plan goes into effect.

Motorists on FDR Drive and the West Side Highway would be exempt.

The question remains: who else would get an exemption?

The MTA's plan is based on London's congestion pricing model. All residents in that city's congestion zone can get a 90% discount on the toll.

As of now, there is no such exemption in New York City's plan.

All of this comes as the MTA struggles to bring back riders after the pandemic.

About 40% of people who took the subway before COVID hit have not returned.
 

David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member
It is unfortunate that it has gotten to this point. I applaud Mayor Adams for recognizing the urgency, but he needed to get in his horse back when he was Brooklyn Borough President.

"Hank Gutman, a former transportation commissioner under Mr. de Blasio who was a member of the B.Q.E. panel, said it was “wishful thinking” to believe a new plan could be adopted, approved and built before the structure becomes unsafe. “They have run out of time and options without employing the measures that we announced and adopted last year,” he said."

The B.Q.E. Is Crumbling. There’s Still No Plan to Fix It.
Mayor Eric Adams wants to jump-start the project, but some critics have raised safety concerns.
The Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, known as the B.Q.E., was built in the 1940s. In 2016, city officials warned that if nothing was done, they would have to restrict trucks by 2026.

The Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, known as the B.Q.E., was built in the 1940s. In 2016, city officials warned that if nothing was done, they would have to restrict trucks by 2026.

The Brooklyn-Queens Expressway is slowly crumbling from the road salt and moisture that has weakened its concrete-and-steel foundation, and from all the overweight trucks that it was never designed to carry.
But six years after New York City officials sounded the alarm over the B.Q.E., there is still no consensus about what to do with this vital but outdated highway from the 1940s, which carries 129,000 vehicles a day.
At least a half-dozen plans have been floated, fractious public meetings and rallies have been held and a mayoral panel of experts worked for more than a year to come up with more options.

“It’s been a lot of effort just trying not to make things worse, but we haven’t been able to make it better,” said Jake Brooks, 47, a law professor, whose apartment building sits beside the B.Q.E. and shakes from the vibrations of cars and trucks hitting potholes and bumps.

Now, the saga of the B.Q.E. is taking another turn as Mayor Eric Adams aims to start construction within five years on a yet-to-be-developed plan to fix the highway. That upends a proposal made in 2021 by Mr. Adams’s predecessor, Bill de Blasio, to temporarily shore up the highway for 20 years at a cost of more than $500 million to give the city more time to work out a permanent solution.
“Our moment is right now,” Mr. Adams said in a statement. “I will not wait decades and needlessly spend hundreds of millions of additional taxpayer dollars when we can and must start rebuilding this vital transportation artery today.”
Fast-tracking the project, the mayor added, will allow the city to potentially tap into billions in new federal infrastructure funds that were unlocked by the Biden administration and use them to help pay for one of the city’s most expensive transportation projects. Under federal legislation passed last year, cities can apply for grants each year until 2026.

“We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to access the federal funding necessary to reimagine and rebuild the B.Q.E. that a post-pandemic economy and city demand, and we are seizing it,” Mr. Adams said.

The mayor — who has a closer working relationship with Gov. Kathy Hochul than Mr. de Blasio did with former Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo — is also in “active discussions” with state officials about overhauling the entire highway, which runs about 18 miles, instead of focusing on just the 1.5-mile section that the city controls, city officials said.

But some elected officials, community leaders and residents have questioned whether the city really can implement a new plan in just five years and have expressed concerns about cutting back on extensive repairs to shore up the existing structure in the meantime.
“There are no easy solutions; if there were, we would have done it many years ago,” said Brooklyn city councilman Lincoln Restler, who has criticized the Adams administration for not aggressively carrying out repairs. “This has been kicked down the road because it is so hard.”

Hank Gutman, a former transportation commissioner under Mr. de Blasio who was a member of the B.Q.E. panel, said it was “wishful thinking” to believe a new plan could be adopted, approved and built before the structure becomes unsafe. “They have run out of time and options without employing the measures that we announced and adopted last year,” he said.
The B.Q.E. was built in sections between 1944 and 1948 during the era of Robert Moses, the influential planner who expanded the city’s roadways. Long known for narrow lanes and potholes, the highway also has a cherished feature: a pedestrian promenade in Brooklyn Heights with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline that is suspended over traffic by an unusual triple cantilever structure.
The roadway is supported by steel rebars inside concrete. They are corroding from road salt that seeped in through cracks, which have widened from freezing and thawing and moisture.

Sign up for the New York Today Newsletter Each morning, get the latest on New York businesses, arts, sports, dining, style and more. Get it sent to your inbox.
In 2016, city officials announced they would rehabilitate the 1.5-mile section between Atlantic Avenue and Sands Street in Brooklyn, warning that if nothing was done, they would have to restrict trucks by 2026 to reduce the weight on the highway.

The B.Q.E. panel later concluded the highway was deteriorating even faster, in part because of all the trucks exceeding the 40-ton federal weight limit. At the panel’s urging, two of the six lanes were eliminated last August, which has reduced vehicle traffic.

In 2018, city officials presented two options to rebuild the highway, which were rejected by critics, including Mr. Adams, then the Brooklyn borough president. One plan called for closing the Brooklyn Heights promenade for up to six years and erecting a temporary highway over it to redirect traffic while work occurred below.
Many of these critics envisioned a city with fewer cars and saw the B.Q.E. overhaul as an opportunity to do something about the worsening traffic that has choked neighborhoods with gridlock and pollution and made streets more dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists.

Counterproposals were floated. The City Council weighed in with an $11 billion plan to tear down the highway and replace it with a three-mile-long tunnel. Scott Stringer, the former city comptroller, proposed limiting part of the highway to trucks and converting another part into a two-mile-long park.
There will be no consensus on the B.Q.E., said Samuel I. Schwartz, a transportation engineer who has worked on the highway. He recommended that Mr. Adams and Ms. Hochul just set a deadline to come up with a new plan — and then move ahead with it over almost certain opposition.
“The city and state have to be together on this,” he said. “If they’re willing to commit to a decision one year from now, then it’s a good plan.”

Hazel Crampton-Hays, a spokeswoman for the governor, said, “The state is ready to support the city on the rehabilitation project, including by securing federal infrastructure funding.”

City officials said they will continue making necessary highway repairs, including some laid out in Mr. de Blasio’s 20-year plan. They have set aside $100 million for a dedicated contractor to make repairs identified by regular inspections. Sensors were also installed on the cantilever last year to monitor its vibrations and movements.
Next year, the city will begin rebuilding parts of two deteriorating bridge sections near Grace Court and Clark Street in Brooklyn, which will allow restrictions on trucks to be delayed until 2028. An automated ticketing system to enforce truck weight limits is to go into operation early next year.
Because Mr. Adams wants to initiate a more permanent fix to the B.Q.E. within five years and is committed to current expressway repairs, city officials said that longer-term repairs, like extensive work on bridge decks and joints, will no longer be necessary.
But in recent months, many community leaders and residents have grown increasingly frustrated and concerned over what they see as the city’s lack of transparency and urgency about the expressway.

Pia Scala-Zankel, a writer whose family’s brownstone in Brooklyn Heights overlooks a section of the expressway, said that she has not seen any repairs being made below her home over the past year. She has repeatedly asked the city transportation agency for an update on the repairs, but has heard nothing. “It’s like a slap in the face,” she said.
Mr. Restler, the city councilman, said that any B.Q.E. plan would require “a meaningful degree of community consensus,” given the complex governmental approvals and environmental reviews required. “No plan can be shoved down our throats by City Hall or anyone else,” he said.

Administration officials said they have been taking time to review the B.Q.E. project and will commence public meetings this month to work with the community on a new expedited plan.

Lara Birnback, the executive director of the Brooklyn Heights Association, a leading neighborhood voice, said that local residents and drivers would welcome a plan sooner rather than later, though she noted, “There are so many caveats and ifs there — all of the pieces would have to line up in the right way for that to be feasible.”

She added that many in the community hope the city will do more than simply patch up the aging highway.
“We’ve moved beyond that,” she said. “People would be upset not to see something more transformative, more green and more 21st century.”
https://www.brownstoner.com/brooklyn-life/bqe-repair-public-hearings-adams-vision/

Mayor Adams Wants to Keep the BQE, Plans to Counter Highway’s ‘Racism’ With Parks, Plazas​

It seems the mayor has made up his mind. The Brooklyn-Queens Expressway will stay, necessary repairs will be made, and the administration hopes to mitigate the “racism built into our infrastructure,” as he put it, by creating parks and plazas under the highway.
The new plan, consisting of two parts dubbed BQE Central and BQE North and South, will tap national funding available thanks to the recently passed Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The decision was slipped into an announcement Friday of a forthcoming community engagement process.
At one time, Brooklynites debated getting rid of the highway altogether, as other cities have done, or replacing the crumbling cantilevered section that passes under the Brooklyn Heights Promenade with a ground-level roadway covered with green hills in Brooklyn Bridge Park. The Brooklyn Greenway Project has been creating parks and plazas under the highway for years in an attempt to knit back together the communities destroyed when Robert Moses built the BQE in the mid 20th century with federal highway funds.

map

A map shows the sections of the highway covered by BQE Central and BQE North and South. Image via NYC Department of Transportation
Friday’s announcement was light on details about how exactly the rickety triple cantilever section will be repaired or rebuilt, but said immediate steps to maintain it are already in place, construction will begin in five years, and the Department of Transportation’s existing Triple Cantilever Joint Venture will continue.
That joint venture includes AECOM USA Inc., an engineering firm widely used in NYC projects that has proposed extending the subway to Red Hook and rebuilding the sleepy historic neighborhood with skyscrapers a la Hudson Yards. Also in the joint venture is high-profile Dumbo-based architecture firm Bjarke Ingels Group, one of two groups who have proposed replacing the existing cantilever with a ground-level roadway running through Brooklyn Bridge Park and covered by grassy hills.

Locals vehemently rejected DOT’s initial scheme to rebuild the cantilever by replacing the protected Brooklyn Heights Promenade with a temporary highway running just a few feet from landmarked townhouses overlooking the waterfront in Brooklyn Heights.

The DOT is planning “community outreach” to inform citizens of its plans and to help “develop designs for reuniting communities north and south of the BQE by creating public spaces like parks and plaza and providing new mobility options for commuting, recreation and commerce,” the press release said. “These communities have suffered for decades from increased traffic pollution and road safety risks after being divided by the highway,” it added.

“It’s time to take a new approach to the BQE and ‘Get Stuff Done,’” said Mayor Adams in the release. “Our administration is seizing a once-in-a-generation opportunity to partner with communities and develop a bold vision for a safe and resilient BQE. Together, we are finally confronting the racism built into our infrastructure and putting equity front and center to modernize this vital transportation artery now.”
DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez said in the release, “We must reckon with the harm these 20th-century highways have caused communities of color in New York City. While we undertake the BQE Central project, we will ensure we are also planning how best to reconnect other neighborhoods that have been split apart by this highway, from Bay Ridge to Greenpoint.”
The release listed a mix of virtual and in-person sessions:

September 28: Corridor-wide kickoff (virtual)
October 6: Corridor-wide kickoff (virtual)
October 11: BQE Central workshop (in-person)
October 13: BQE Central workshop (virtual)
November 3: BQE North and South workshop (virtual)
November 7: BQE South workshop (in-person)
November 10: BQE North workshop (in-person)

The mayor’s plans align with recommendations in a January 2020 report from the BQE Expert Panel, according to President and CEO of New York Building Congress Carlo Scissura, who chaired the report panel in 2019 and 2020.
The report rejected DOT’s initial proposal while stopping short of embracing Bjarke Ingels’ vision. A City Council engineering report the following month recommended the latter. Meanwhile, congestion pricing, which the city is currently considering, has the potential to further alter traffic patterns in Brooklyn and citywide.
“We also look forward to an eventual corridor-wide, full re-imagination of the BQE from Staten Island to The Bronx that serves people, communities and the entire city,” he said in a prepared statement quoted by Brownstoner sister pub Politics NY. “In the name of sustainability and equity for those impacted by the mistakes of yesteryear, all options for a greener, fully modernized, community-focused roadway must be considered.”
 
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