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City to Create Blue Ribbon Commission to Analyze BQE Reconstruction

POLITICO
BY DANA RUBINSTEIN
APRIL 3, 2019

Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to announce on Wednesday the creation of a blue ribbon commission whose task will be to find consensus around a new plan for a deteriorating cross-section of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway.

Carlo Scissura, president and CEO of the New York Building Congress, will chair the commission.

“Its really putting together a group of people who will hear people, listen to people, meet with community groups, civic groups, and meet with engineers and architects and contractors to really understand what is the right thing to do there, what can be built,” Scissura told POLITICO. “Before we do anything, we have to understand what can actually be built there.”

The panel is expected to meet once every week or two over the course of eight weeks, starting at the end of April. It’s expected to produce whatever its conclusions are by summer.

“It will evaluate underlying project assumptions and review existing proposals, including those that have been generated by elected officials and community members, no-build or reduced capacity options, and other ideas as generated by the panel,” according to a draft copy of the release acquired by POLITICO.

The commission’s expected announcement will come ahead of a major meeting on the BQE in Brooklyn Heights Wednesday.

“This new panel presents an important opportunity to create the best plan possible — with community voices heard throughout the process,” said Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg.

Other members include the Regional Plan Association’s Tom Wright, and the General Contractors Association executive director Denise Richardson.

The well-resourced community has mobilized in opposition to the city’s more than $3 billion proposal, which might involve the yearslong closure of the Brooklyn Promenade and the creation of a temporary six-lane highway where the Promenade now stands.