The Belt Parkway would be a great place to construct an elevated express lane from Sheepshead Bay all the way to Kennedy Airport, a couple of community leaders are proclaiming this week -- and they want to use federal stimulus dollars to get the job done.
“We are stuck,” Community Board 15 Chair Theresa Scavo said. ”The Belt Parkway is antiquated and cannot handle the volume of traffic.The only place to go is up.”
The idea to erect an elevated express lane over the Belt Parkway is no pie-in-the-sky scheme, according to Scavo, and she already has enlisted the support of Manhattan Beach Neighborhood (MBNA} Association President Alan Ditchek.
“It’s a win-win situation,” Ditchek told members of the MBNA at P.S. 195 last week. “It would put people to work and everyone would be happy with the results.”
Seven spans along the Belt Parkway are already slated for upgrade as part of an extensive bridge rehabilitation program.
In addition, the city’s Department of Design & Construction is about to embark on a rehabilitation project of its own involving guardrails, drainage and catch basins.
According to Scavo, erecting an elevated express lane over the Belt Parkway could be accomplished in as little as two years.
“Very little of the stimulus money is being used,” Scavo suggested. “No one is even putting in for it.”
Not so fast, Rep. Anthony Wiener warns.
“Congressman [Anthony] Weiner is open to ideas about how to ease traffic and congestion on the Belt Parkway,” Weiner’s chief of staff, Marie Ternes, said. “But all projects of this magnitude would require a 20 percent match from New York State. The congressman looks forward to hearing from the state authority about Ms. Scavo’s ideas.”
At press time, the state DOT did not respond to requests for comments about this story.
Officials at the NYC DOT said the agency continues to look for and implement innovative ways to improve mobility and enhance safety for all who use the city’s streets, sidewalks, roadways and bridges.
City Councilmember Lew Fidler represents a lot of commuters from Canarsie, Marine Park and surrounding areas who use the Belt Parkway every day.
A spokesperson for Fidler said that while he couldn’t comment on specifics of the proposal, it does sound interesting, and that he wants to see the plan.
This week, Ditchek was expected to join Scavo at a meeting with DDC to discuss traffic problems along the Belt Parkway.
The roadway was completed in 1941 and was envisioned as a “system” running around the perimeter of Brooklyn and Queens. It includes the Cross Island Parkway, the Grand Central Parkway and the Jackie Robinson Parkway in its loop.
©2009 Community News Group
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