BQE Trench: Reconnection Strategies for Brownstone Brooklyn

Brooklyn, NY

The Brooklyn Queens Expressway (BQE) was originally proposed by the Regional Plan Association in the mid- 1930s to mitigate traffic congestion, facilitate industrial development and strengthen the connection between the boroughs of New York City. Robert Moses, as chair of the Tri-borough Bridge and Tunnel Authority charted its path through low income residential neighborhoods of Brooklyn & Queens. The construction of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway divided the existing brownstone neighborhoods of Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, and Red Hook with a 6-lane highway.

In 2007 DLANDstudio received a NYSCA Grant to study reconnection strategies for these neighborhoods while looking at the potential to improve adjacent landscape infrastructure and ameliorate environmental impacts. The resulting BQE Trench Study works to improve environmental and economic vitality in a first phase through the addition of green walls and street trees.  The ultimate realization of the project will be a new park constructed over the BQE that reconnects these separated neighborhoods and provides recreational space for this park-poor area. In what we see as a hybrid strategy that utilizes concepts of Jane Jacobs and Robert Moses, we propose areas of up-zoning at street crossing corners, with neighborhood commercial activity at the ground floor and residential units above. 

DLANDstudio met with community members, neighborhood associations, and government officials to realize this plan.  Congresswoman Nydia Velasquez appropriated funds to further study the issue and utilized our work to secure local DOT matching funds for a study that will be administered by the NYCEDC.

New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), Individual Artist Grant, “Strategies for improving the Brooklyn Queens Expressway in Brownstone Brooklyn”, 2006


Chicago Athenaeum & European Centre for Architecture Art Design & Urban Studies,
Good Design Awards, 2010

AIANY Chapter Award, Urban Design, 2010

ASLA Un-Built Works Merit Award, 2007