Despite being musically inspiring for some, the BQE is generally a fuzzy migraine wrapped in a pounding headache for commuters and local residents alike; constant traffic delays, dilapidated sections, and endless car noise can do that. With stretches of the expressway between Sands Street and Atlantic Avenue desperately needing repair, state transportation officials are considering several different options for how to handle it. One such proposal that is gaining steam is to build a tunnel under Brownstone Brooklyn that would stretch all the way from the Prospect Expressway to the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
According to Brooklyn Paper, the two-and-a-half-mile tunnel already has its advocates: “It’s brilliant,” said Allen Swerdlowe, an architect participating in state-sponsored design workshops. He praised the tunnel idea because it would discourage traffic-enraged drivers from skipping off the highway to drive on local streets. Four other participants in the design workshops also praised the tunnel, saying it would be the least-disruptive and most-effective way to control traffic on the chronically clogged stretch of the BQE.
Cobble Hill community activist Roy Sloane, who has no engineering background, came up with the “Cross-Downtown Brooklyn tunnel,” which would be the longest tunnel in America (click on thumbnail for larger image of Roy Sloane's proposal). Sloane proposes that the tunnel could be an express route to North Brooklyn, while the triple-cantilevered stretch of the BQE would become a “local” route that would funnel traffic to the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges as well as local streets. Swerdlowe disagrees about what should be done with the decaying stretch of the BQE: “I don’t like that because it creates more capacity, and once you increase capacity drivers start using it and you create more problems.” Instead, he suggests it could be converted into a recreation area of some sort. “The High Line [in Manhattan] could certainly be a model,” he said.