Why the B.Q.E. Might Shrink

New York is considering a startling step: eliminating one-third of the lanes on one of the city’s busiest highways.

Comments: 23

  1. I travel the horror of the BQE everyday and I am stunned by this latest study. Remove a lane? Who was the rocket scientist that came up with that? Smaller lanes is another hair brained idea that just makes no sense. How about this? Stop permitting trucks that take the Verrazano bridge (toll free) and then get in the BQE. No trucks would solve a big hunk of traffic. I’m not an engineer. I’m just a person forced by circumstances to drive the BQE for 40 years. Our roads are third rate and more suitable for a third world country. The greatest city in the world has the worst and most expense roads in America. When will we join other industrialized countries in coming up with viable plans for modern transportation. These engineers should all go to Europe and study how its done.

  2. @Unbelievable I agree that shrinking the BQE is problematic. Yet, your solution of banning trucks is a demonstration of ignorance that is so prevalent among the public and even among our elected and appointed officials. The BQE is the ONLY major arterial highway that trucks are allowed to use to go from SI to Brooklyn to Queens. To think that some how all the goods and supplies will magically appear in drugstores, hardware stores and supermarkets is delusional. The idea of using more trains/barging for freight makes sense, but that would likely cost as much, perhaps more, to improve the BQE since much of the existing infrastructure is antiquated.

  3. @Unbelievable Remember that Europe's road structure was completely rebuilt after it was carpet bombed by the allies in WW II. They ain't got no 100 year old highways there.

  4. @Unbelievable Trucks only make up 10% of the daily traffic, the majority are cars (with single occupants) and light trucks that are motivated to drive into Manhattan toll-free over the Brooklyn or Manhattan bridge. If you build it, people will take the easier choice and drive. Reduce it and people find other ways. It is that simple. BTW, they have already approved the return of spit tolling on the Verrazano bridge to discourage what I described above. I would argue by any metric used to measure large city "greatness", that NYC does not meet those criteria by far.

  5. On realigning the City's property tax methodology - it's about time! Housing inequity - which is compounded by the property tax inequity - is clearly what is driving the growing divide between the upper class and the rest of us here in NYC. If this change, just like Trump's reduction to the SALT deduction, drives some of the uber-rich out of NYC - good riddance to them. These are the type of people who aren't invested in being a part of NYC and aren't willing to make the investments that the City needs to stay great. As to helping out those that are house rich and cash poor - there should be a limit to how much we do for them. There are too many aging boomers sitting on large apartments/houses where they should be downsizing, thus creating a more robust turnover of housing stock. I'd rather live in a more middle class NYC the way it use to be than the playground for the elite, well to do that its turned in to.

  6. @Common Sense '...There are too many aging boomers sitting on large apartments/houses where they should be downsizing, thus creating a more robust turnover of housing stock...' Should be? Yes comrade!

  7. Considering the fact that we haven't even had a true winter yet, Groundhog or not -- the chances are about 50/50 that winter either ends or REALLY shows itself between now and say, June... Anyone taking any bets?

  8. The current BQE configuration through the area discussed is nominally 6 lanes. It is 4 thru lanes with lane drops for exit only lanes for the Bk and Manhattan Bridges. The configuration encourages lane changes and swerving, thus creating a whole host of problems. The Gowanus merge already filters traffic to two lanes further south. Dropping the third lane and reconfiguring to exit only for the bridges and merges for the on ramps could be done tomorrow and would greatly improve the current situation.

  9. I remember driving my Triumph sports car on the BQE 50 years ago on a trip to New York. It was a horror show then; but, given American ingenuity I'm surprised the problem hasn't been solved.

  10. Surge pricing for taxis? So it would duplicate Uber? Uber is the reason for the problem in the first place. How would this impact on people without phones (yes some elderly don't use phones/apps)? What about people who pay cash? BTW Uber fares are already artificially low in that they are backed by venture capital. How about restricting Uber?

  11. @SLM - regarding "Surge pricing for taxis?" - We've already seen airline pricing for Broadway and off-Broadway shows! It helped make Manhattan what it is today from what it was at the start of the century - for better or worse. (better and easier to gave access if you're rich, making it pretty much unavailable if you're not rich) This sounds like a taxi analogy. (started with the $3.30 add-on that made an affordable $5 on-a-whim alternative to mass transit into something that started to sound like money you had to think about, always implemented by people who are on the winning side)

  12. If removing one lane of the BQE is so good, why not eliminate two lanes?

  13. It's a war on drivers. The port authority raised tolls the mta raised tolls. Now congestion pricing is coming in 2021. Removing lanes from BQE ? What are they smoking? I dont know what politicians expect drivers to do. Then they wonder why people are leaving the NYC area. Its unaffordable to live here.

  14. Groundhog or not: I noticed some spring bulbs starting to make an appearance in my garden this past week. Tulips? Hyacinths? Not sure. And many of the plants brought indooors for the winter are waking up from their dormancy and putting putting out green leaves. I can't wait for spring. The last frost is usually around April 4 to 10. Yippee!

  15. Snowbells in my garden for last three weeks.

  16. Chuck's not the only one who's glad when Mayor Bill stays away. In this second term can't the voters who voted for him really empathize? Tune of “Puff the Magic Dragon” Chuck from Staten Island once lived in fear He'd panicked then in winter hoping Bill won't reappear. Chuck from Staten Island once lived in great fear But now he feels secure that Bill will skip another year (repeat)

  17. The strongest and least invasive fix for the BQE would be to erect columns and brackets on the outside and anchor the promenade and the upper and lower lanes to them. The bonus is a wider promenade with more room for greenery. From Manhattan the BQE would look like a stoa. Why not? Too easy?

  18. I feel that shrinking the BQE has bad idea written all over it. Giving it less lanes will just make it go from bad to worse. Seriously, I would like to ask Winnie Hu and anyone who thought of this idea. Do any of you actually drive on this highway on a regular basis? I say this because I feel that she and all others probably don't or have a bias against those who drive. Unfortunately for them, the BQE isn't going away no matter how much they despise it hence the need for repairs for it to last longer. Of course there are those who feel that it should be removed altogether, but that's also a bad idea, because doing so would mean that the vehicles who use it, especially the commercial vehicles will have to start using more of the local roads, and some of those neighborhoods already do have high asthma rates hence doing that will just make it worse. Just like the idea of reducing it, I feel that does who want it removed don't drive on a regular basis, which is why I feel that they are out of touch with others. As for congestion pricing, I feel the reason why the MTA or even the state doesn't plan on doing any further hearings on this or at least not for the public will probably because of the fear of opponents such as myself coming in full force and pressuring them to end it rather than to amend it if this ever got it, which is probably why it has been hated since it was brought up back in 2003 when Bloomberg pushed for it.

  19. The BQE is a numbered Interstate highway that trucks use to access areas beyond Brooklyn Heights. The feds, Queens and Nassau/Suffolk residents might have something to say about all of this. It would be akin to Queens residents pushing to eliminate one third or all flights into and out of LaGuardia and JFK.

  20. @From Where I Sit Apparently NY State returned the city's interstates to the city's jurisdiction which will prove to be a big mistake. But I believe that the city's interstates are still considered state highways. The NYCDOT is incapable of completing large projects on time.

  21. I applaud the sentiment to discourage autos and encourage mass transit. But wouldn’t it make to make the mass transit work first? The subways are chronically late with constant service disruptions. We’re not giving the driving public much of a choice. These policies are all stick, and no carrot.

  22. Don’t know if this can be legally done, this is a state and federally subsidized and numbered highway. I don’t think you can narrow it that easily. Sorry gluten free kale eaters, if the trucks can’t come in your 15 dollar goat cheese can’t come in either

  23. Here's a newsflash traffic planning experts-- those who use the BQE do so because they cannot use trains or ferries, etc. I think we used to call this false logic.