NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A new idea to combat traffic on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway is turning some heads.
An expert wants to cut down the number of lanes, but not everyone is in favor.
It’s a novel idea hoping to tackle a decades old problem — congestion on the BQE. Instead of adding more lanes, a new report is calling to eliminate some.
Drivers are naturally skeptical.
“It would be tragic, really. It’s just off,” Sandy Weinbaum, of Brooklyn, said.
“With so much traffic already, I don’t know by reducing it how it’s going to impact the neighborhood,” another driver said.
But engineer and transportation expert Sam Schwartz, says the idea will work, especially once congestion pricing kicks in.
The report, put together by a panel of experts appointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio, recommends shrinking six lanes down to four.
Experts say the current highway is too narrow with no acceleration lanes and is a magnet for accidents.
“While people think it sounds a little crazy — if you have a traffic jam there already, you’re the reducing lanes — a well-designed two-lane highway would be more efficient than a poorly designed three-lane,” Schwartz told CBSN New York’s Christina Fan.
The BQE is rapidly falling apart under the weight of more than 150,000 vehicles every day. Without an overhaul, experts say parts could become unsafe for traffic within five years.
“It’s dangerous having so many huge trucks around and people’s houses are vibrating, so I think it’s a good thing, bringing it down to two lanes,” Monica Elias, of Brooklyn, said.
But de Blasio himself did not seem convinced the idea would work.
“The problem I have with that is one, that’s not a guarantee that people get out of cars. It is a guarantee of traffic jams, and it is a guarantee of other challenges,” he said.
The mayor is moving forward with another short-term solution for now, signing an executive order instructing the NYPD to start hitting overweight trucks traveling the expressway illegally with hefty $7,000 fines beginning Monday.