Saturday, November 3, 2007

Build a Cross Brooklyn Tunnel

by Steve Anderson

Of all the boroughs in New York City, Brooklyn is the least served in limited-access highway mileage vis-à-vis population. Sometime in the future, the Cross Brooklyn Expressway proposal may be resurrected as an Interstate corridor for use by passenger cars and commercial traffic.

The new Cross Brooklyn Expressway should utilize the right-of-way along Conduit Boulevard, Linden Boulevard and the LIRR Bay Ridge branch to the Gowanus Expressway (I-278). This project should be done in conjunction with the conversion (and completion) of the Nassau Expressway into a controlled-access facility, and possibly be integrated with the long-proposed plan for a rail tunnel between Bay Ridge, Brooklyn and Bayonne, New Jersey. Strong consideration should be given to its construction as a tunnel facility. (The Saunders-Herrenknecht proposal for the Tappan Zee and Oyster Bay-Rye tunnels, which calls for dual-level tunnels for vehicular and rail traffic, may serve as a model.)

Adopted from misc.transport.road

If New York City planning were more comprehensive with pursuing environmentally advanced designs for projects combining highways and rail, the discussion for this much needed Cross Bay Rail Tunnel to Brooklyn would include a vehicular link to New Jersey, with an eastern extension across Brooklyn to Kennedy Airport.

Like the Cross Brooklyn Expressway proposals of the 1960's, this would employ the right of way of the LIRR freight tracks. Unlike these earlier proposals, this new highway would be designed to not tower over neighborhoods, nor take lengthy swaths from existing neighborhoods, nor increase localized air pollution, nor even be something that could accurately be said as dividing Brooklyn locally. Rather than building a high viaduct over the railroad, or a below ground roadway lined with new buildings (at the expense of homes), build this Cross Brooklyn Expressway as an encased, multi-level, multi-model road tunnel with electrostatic precipitator filtration technology, built beneath a new linear park for much of its length.

This railroad corridor is wide at its western segment, approximately 250 feet wide with a single rail track, and its eastern segment traverses vast industrial areas. In contrast, the middle segment is only about 80 feet wide, and is immediately abutted by residential areas that may not permit widening. Indeed, this width is too narrow for a conventional expressway layout, thus requiring a multi-level underground facility. This would perhaps entail three separate decks, one deck for expanded passenger and freight rail service, and two decks for each expressway carriageway.

A full underground segment for this narrow middle segment, and the area along Linden Boulevard would be required for noise abatement.

The project should connect directly to a new Cross Harbor Railway/Highway Tunnel to I-78 in New Jersey, with new parallel roadways to at least the New Jersey Turnpike. Such a tunnel is currently planned, inexplicitly only with rail.

It would be perhaps the nation's most needed new evacuation route from a major metropolitan area, with the greatest re-use of existing industrialized right of way.
Cross Brooklyn Expressway right of way tour- Old NYC
Cross Harbor - Cross Brooklyn Tunnel (non-multi-model rail only version)

No comments: