Wednesday’s Headlines: #BrooklynQueensExpressWHY Edition (Part II)

This is file art. Today, there will only be two lanes in each direction on the BQE. File photo: Gersh Kuntzman
This is file art. Today, there will only be two lanes in each direction on the BQE. File photo: Gersh Kuntzman

Sure, maybe the city does need to rebuild the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway in some form or another — but we’re not going to stop demanding that elected officials at least explain why they think so.

Yesterday, we confronted Council Speaker Corey Johnson with the illogic of rebuilding a highway to serve 175,000 vehicles per day in an age of climate change and pollution-induced asthma — and politicians’ stated goal of reducing both. Johnson said he’d gladly consider not rebuilding the roadway, but no one has a good plan for dealing with all the traffic.

Perhaps it’s because Johnson never asked for one!

Hat-tip to amNY’s rising star Mark Hallum and our own Julianne Cuba, whose stories on yesterday’s Council hearing revealed the essential flaw of the reconstruction process:

“Why can’t we just tear it down?” Johnson asked consultant Trent Lethco, whose firm sifted through alternative designs to come up with two recommendations for the Council. Stories by Hallum and Cuba showed that Lethco’s firm was not asked to find alternatives to vehicular traffic, but simply how to fix the highway so those cars can keep moving.

So of course Johnson says he hasn’t seen a responsible plan for tearing down the BQE — he hired a consultant and never asked the consultant to consider that option! Is this a classic example of hiring a consultant to write the report you want written? Only time will tell, but for now, we’re still asking (and still hashtagging): #BrooklynQueensExpressWHY. When we get an answer, we’ll share it.

In other news:

  • The Daily News angle on the BQE hearing was that Gov. Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio should bury the hatchet to get the roadway fixed. As if — de Blasio will be long gone by the time any shovel is put into the ground.
  • In a (should be more) related story, climate change poses “catastrophic” and “likely irreversible” risks to global political stability, according to a new report by a national security think tank. The report calls for phasing out greenhouse gas emissions and reaching zero emissions “as quickly as possible.” (The Hill)
  • We were pleased that Gothamist covered the bizarre case of the NYPD cracking down on our own reporter Julianne Cuba doing her job the other day. Our old man editor has lodged a formal complaint with the NYPD, which has acknowledged that it is looking into why cops harassed our reporter.
  • Subway and bus riders, meet your new “Train Daddy,” Sarah Feinberg. (NYDN, NY Post, Wall Street Journal, amNY)
  • Everyone covered the killing of a 10-year-old girl by a school bus driver in East New York. (Gothamist, Streetsblog, WSJ, amNY, NY Times, NYDN and NY Post with a heartbreaking picture, plus more details in the Post)
  • If President Trump can nix — in a single tweet! — a sea wall to protect New York from global-warming-induced flooding, imagine how quickly he could quash congestion pricing. (both NY Times)
  • Patch covered the CB2 “no parking” resolution, as we did earlier in the week.
  • In case you missed it, a bicyclist was killed in a hit-and-run in North Patchogue in Suffolk County. (Newsday)
  • From the assignment desk: Mayor de Blasio will sign Brad Lander’s recently renamed Dangerous Vehicle Abatement bill this morning at City Hall (yet not take questions!).
  • The father of the current subway map, Mike Hertz, has died, deserving this classic NY Times sendoff.
  • Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla is moving his city towards cutting the speed limit to 20 miles per hour (via Twitter).
  • And finally, check out this crazy guy — with the gun — harassing cyclists. (Cycling with Colin via Twitter)