Designs move forward for park over the BQE

Council member Diana Reyna and a rendering of the park by dlandstudios

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A new park design is moving forward in Southside Williamsburg, thanks to a plan to cap the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway trench that runs through the neighborhood, Architects Newspaper reported. Brooklyn Council member Diana Reyna proposed the plan in 2005, saying that building a park would help address health issues affecting local children, including asthma, obesity and diabetes. Last spring, Brooklyn-based dlandstudio was selected to research strategies for building, and dlandstudio principal Susannah Drake spent most of 2010 helping Reyna garner support for the plan from community organizations and government agencies. This month, the firm will begin preparing cost-benefit and health analyses while creating a design model for public presentation. Existing park spaces run along the BQE from Broadway to Borinquen Place, and the plan’s conceptual drawings show these spaces united by a lawn, a baseball diamond and a soccer field. By enclosing the expressway between South 3rd and 5th streets, the team hopes to significantly reduce traffic pollution and noise. As part of the first phase, to be carried out over the next two to five years, approval is required from the city and state departments of transportation, both of which have already expressed support. “Many of the moves we identified in the first phase can be done right now and without much money,” said Drake, who has been given an estimated budget range of $85 to $175 million for the full scope of the project. [Arch Paper]