Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Misplaced NYC Infrastructure Priorities

Which is more important? Renaming the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel and 59th Street Bridge to honor former Governor Hugh Carey and Mayor Ed Koch respectively, or finding funding to improve the Brooklyn Queens Expressway trench between Atlantic Avenue and the Battery Tunnel?

Well, it looks like the renaming is likely, while the BQE enhancement lacks the funding (starting at $10 million). The state legislature and City Council will have to vote to approve the naming changes, and if history is any guide, the cost to switch signs for each crossing will run around $4 million each (that's what the cost to rename the Triborough Bridge as the RFK Memorial Bridge).

The city and state are hoping to get private donations to cover the cost. Really?

How about skipping the naming rights and get the donations to improve the community life around the trench - new trees, screening, and pocket parks would help close the gap created when the highway was built below grade. It wouldn't be a perfect fix, but it would help lessen the effects of the highway on Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, and Columbia Street Waterfront.

This once again exposes the misplaced priorities. Focus on improving the actual infrastructure than paying for name changes that people end up ignoring. Construction of the highway destroyed neighborhood life and the EDC efforts to reduce noise, congestion, and pollution effects on the neighborhood would help improve the situation.

It is far more worthwhile than renaming bridges and tunnels.

No comments: