DOT to Divert Trucks to Local Brooklyn Streets During BQE Repair
By Yehudit Garmaise
The Department of Transportation (DOT) is finally starting its years-long plans to fix the crumbling Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE), and when the DOT announced its plans to detour tens of thousands of trucks from the expressway to several residential Brooklyn streets during the construction work, many residents worried about safety, noise, and traffic.
Many of the Brooklynites who spoke at last Thursday’s meeting worried what a deluge of trucks would bring to local streets that are already full of traffic and many crashes.
In just three weekends that will range from October to May 2023, the DOT will direct trucks to take the Prospect Expressway Exit, and then re-route them to Linden Boulevard, by way of Fifth Street and Caton Avenue.
In a later weekend, trucks will be diverted from the BQE to 3rd and 4th Avenues.
A mass advertising campaign to inform the public will precede the weekends when the DOT will divert trucks off the BQE, and local residents will be reminded to use mass transit and avoid the areas, if possible.
The DOT also will provide “pedestrian managers” and many signs at key locations to ensure New Yorkers’ safety.
Julie Bero, the DOT’s chief strategy officer, however, said that the truck diversions are “just for a few weekends, but we understand that that has an impact on your day-to-day life.
“Hopefully this is not full-on ‘Carmageddon,’ [a violent, driving-oriented video game.]
“We have just three weekend closures,” which will be preceded by prep work in the overnight hours.
While the repairs, which are crucial to public safety and have been in the works since 2016, will mostly affect the neighborhoods of Windsor Terrace, Kensington, and Prospect Park South, Boro Parkers who are on the roads also will be affected, but most of the extra traffic will be taking place on Shabbos over just three weekends.
In addition, the DOT reassured that the agency would not divert any traffic on the holiday of any religion.
While Assemblyman Robert Carroll (44th), said he wanted to make sure that local areas “do not have to face undue burdens at their doorsteps,” at the same time, the long-planned construction on the BQE is “very necessary work to fix the triple cantilever.
“We are trying to make the best out of this bad situation.”
“We have heard really clearly that East 5th Street is a real concern and that there are other roads that maybe better [for truck diversion from the BQE.],” Bero said. “Our goal is to keep as few trucks off of residential streets as possible. We really want to make sure that we are keeping everyone safe as they are going to school, to playgrounds, or to work.”