The BQE Triple-Cantilever and viaduct is a
6-lane highway structure running 1.5 miles
through the Brooklyn Heights and Dumbo
neighborhoods of New York City.

What will its future be?

Built by Robert Moses, the mid-century NYC planner,
in 1954, and designed by the landscape architects
Rapuano and Clark, the structure was the result of
intense negotiations with the community, and resulted
in the Brooklyn Heights Promenade on its upper tier -
one of the most iconic open spaces in New York City.
BQE Construction 1950s
BQE Completion,1954
In recent years, Brooklyn Bridge Park has transformed the lower waterfront, opening Brooklyn’s former working docklands to millions of residents from across the city and visitors from around the world.
But today, the iconic triple-
cantilever structure running
along its length is in dire
need of repair.
Originally designed to accommodate 47,000 vehicles per day,
the structure currently carries 153,000 - and after decades of
neglect, steel reinforcement is rapidly corroding.
If not repaired by 2026, trucks will be
forced off of the roadway, with all traffic
becoming unviable in the early 2030s.
Now is the moment to rethink this
waterfront for the next 100 years.
Cheonggyecheon Urban Renewal, Seoul
East Side Coastal Resiliency Project
Memorial Arch Park, St. Louis
Alaskan Way Waterfront, Seattle
Olympic Sculpture Park, Seattle
Presidio Tunnel Tops, San Francisco
By looking to our past, we can re-imagine our future.
San Francisco Embarcardero, 1980s and Today
Brooklyn Heights, 1876
What can we learn from our waterfront’s past?
Existing
The back of Brooklyn Bridge Park contains parking and a series of sound-attenuating hills, whose purpose is to block the sound and views of the exposed highway.
Construction
Construction
If the back of the park were used for temporary construction, BQE traffic could remain in place while at-grade highway and deck are constructed...
Concept
Scenario 1: Preserve BQE Viaduct
Once construction is complete, BQE traffic can be re-routed below the expanded park, and the existing viaduct repurposed as a new linear park!
Concept
Scenario 2: Replace BQE Viaduct
Alternatively, the hillside can be fully reconstructed, with parking and other activities integrated!
Flexibility
Mixed Use Amenities
Vertical Recreation
Integrated Parking
The BQP concept creates a better connected,
and bigger, Brooklyn Bridge Park.
The exposed highway along the back of Brooklyn Bridge Park...
is relocated underneath an immersive new extension
of activity and nature!
Today's gap between the city and the waterfront...
is transformed into a showcase moment for NYC!
A compromised connection between downtown Brooklyn...
and the waterfront becomes a welcoming threshold into the park,
revealing generous views of the harbor and city skyline!
BQP Aerial Plan
Corridor Context
Over time, a corridor-wide study should determine future needs for rehabilitation or replacement, and identify opportunities for equitable urban improvements along the BK waterfront
BQP Benefits
  • Preserves historical promenade.
  • De-conflicts construction from community and active traffic.
  • Reduced cost and improved constructability as compared to other potential approaches.
  • Vastly improved waterfront condition.
  • Creation of new parkland - 8-12+ acres.
  • Improved N-S and E-W connectivity.
  • Improved sound and air quality.
  • Improved stormwater management.
  • Opportunities for new community amenities.
  • Potential for BQX/light-rail.
  • Potential for a continuous linear park running from DUMBO to Red Hook!
Technical FAQ
DEP Infrastructure and Utilities DEP Infrastructure
and Utilities
  • The 10’ DEP Sewer Inteceptor may remain in place with access via a linear void, or be downsized and reconstructed adjacent to roadway for improved long-term access.
  • Water, gas, and electrical utilities along Furman St. to remain in place or relocate to new dedicated utility corridor.
  • NYC Franchise Area: Utilities must accommodate any request for relocation if required for public improvements.
MTA Infastructure MTA Infastructure
  • No MTA fan plants (A/C, 2/3, R) require re-location for the proposal.
  • 2/3 Train Vent and Emergency Egress to remain in place, with simple stair and chimney accommodated in deck structure.
  • MTA Electrical Substation at 304 Furman St. to be relocated vertically at cost of roughly $100 Million, providing modernization and resiliency benefits.
Brooklyn Bridge Park Brooklyn Bridge Park
  • Construction of proposal would require 1 Acre of 72 Acre park (1.6%) to undergo regrading and reconstruction.
  • BBP M+O Facility and HQ buildings to be reconstructed.
  • Significant positive opportunities for programming and access improvement unlocked by concept.
360 Furman Street 360 Furman Street
  • BQE to be reconstructed below grade, along Furman Street.
  • Lobby and ground floor retail to remain in place in final condition (Lobby temporarily accessed from corridor entry at northern end of building during construction).
  • Final condition to bury highway and vastly improve lower floor conditions for building.
  • Access from Joralemon St. to be preserved in final condition and during construction (via temporary bridge).
Atlantic Avenue Atlantic Avenue
  • New roadway to continue below grade from 360 Furman St., matching into Cobble Hill trench.
  • Dangerous on/off ramp conditions can be addressed and reconfigured.
  • Vastly improved urban conditions along Atlantic Ave. provide opportunity for creation of additional parkland and amenities.
Colombian Heights Columbia Heights
  • Roadway to transition from at-grade to double stacked before Columbia Heights bridge, at 5% slope and 1060’ minimum radius (Federal Standards).
  • Potential for park deck to climb with roadway, creating new connection from BBP to Columbia Heights Bridge.
  • Additional study should be undertaken to determine opportunities for urban improvements north of Columbia Heights, including ramp connectivity to Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges.
Roadway Design Roadway Design
  • Roadway design assumes current DOT assumptions for 6 lanes with breakdown shoulders for each direction.
  • Reducing lanes from 6 to 4, as recommended by RPA and under study by Expert Panel, would reduce cost and physical impacts of scheme further.
  • Proposal is able to accommodate 5% Maximum Slope with 1060’ Minimum Radius (Federal Standards).
  • Tunnel vents to be provided every 500’.
  • Opportunities for carbon/particulate capture can be explored.
Phasing Phasing
  • The BQP concept is estimated to match or reduce construction time as compared to the DOT Innovative Plan.
  • Pinch-points assume modified lane-by-lane reconstruction per DOT Traditional Plan.
  • Reduced risk to schedule, due to simplified structural approach and staging along Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Cost Cost
  • An order of magnitude cost estimate has been prepared by VJ Associates and Arcadis. Details of the estimate are available on page 162-163 of the BQP Report.
  • The estimate supports assumptions that an at-grade scheme could be built at similar or less cost than the current DOT baseline alternative.
  • If desired, the BQP scheme provides opportunities for revenue generation that may help buy down costs further.
Rehabilitation concepts Rehabilitation concepts
  • If a short-term rehabilitation is undertaken as a first phase, shoring up of the triple-cantilever structure could build towards its future use as a park and pedestrian oriented structure, with roadway at Furman St. per Scenario 1 – Preserve BQE Viaduct.
  • If rehabilitation is undertaken as a longer-term strategy, core aspects of the BQP proposal could be accommodated as part of new reinforcement elements as well.

Take action!

Let your local elected
officials know what you
think.

Stephan Levin
City council Member
Email: slevin@council.nyc.gov
Phone: 718-875-5200
Eric Adams
Brooklyn Borough President
Email: askeric@brooklynbp.nyc.gov
Phone: 718-875-5200
Brian Kavanagh
State Senator
Email: kavanagh@nysenate.gov
District office phone: 718-875-1517
Daniel Abramson
Office of the Mayor, Community Affairs
Email: dabramson@cityhall.nyc.gov
Phone: 212-788-7929
Jo Anne Simon
Assembly Member
Email: simonj@nyassembly.gov
District office phone: 718-246-4889
Joannene Kidder
NYC DOT BQE Project Team
Email: jkidder@bqe-i278.com
BQE Project Team phone: 332-999-4520
BQP Aerial