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BURY THE GOWANUS?

Will a proposal to replace the raised portion of the Gowanus Expressway be enough to fix what some have called a crumbling relic of the city’s past?

AIRED: February 14, 2020 | 0:08:04
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
TRANSCRIPT

>>> AS NEW YORK CITY RACES TO

EXPANDS OUR INFRASTRUCTURE

CONTINUES TO FALL BEHIND.

FOR EXAMPLE, YEARS OF NEGLECT

HAVE BROUGHT BROOKLYN'S TO A

NOTORIOUS STATE OF DISREPAIR.

NOW, SOME NEW YORKERS HOPE TO

RESOLVE THIS PARTICULAR CRISIS

BY BURYING IT ONCE AND FOR ALL.

THEY ARGUE THAT REPLACING THE

HIGHWAY WITH A TUNNEL WILL BRING

NEW JOBS, CLEANER AIR AND

GENERALLY A MUCH BETTER QUALITY

OF LIFE TO THE AREA.

JOINING US NOW AS PART OF

ONGOING SERIES, TWO PARTS OF IT.

THE NEW YORK CITY COUNCILMEMBER,

GENTLEMEN, WELCOME TO THE

PROGRAM.

>> LET ME START WITH YOU.

WHAT EXACTLY ARE YOU PROPOSING?

>> I THINK YOU SAID IT RIGHT.

THIS IS A NEGLECTED, AGING PIECE

OF AN INFRASTRUCTURE THAT WAS

BUILT IN A DIFFERENT ERA IN THE

UNITED STATES.

BUILT BY ROBERT MOSES FOR

WHATEVER GOOD OR BAD HE DID, WE

KNOW.

>> DID HE SOME GOOD, SOME BAD.

THIS WAS ONE OF THE BAD.

THE PLAN IS SIMPLE.

YOU GET OFF THE BRIDGE.

THERE IS A TRENCH THERE.

YOU CONTINUE IT.

INSTEAD OF GOING UP ON AN

EXPRESS WAY, YOU GO DOWN INTO A

TUNNEL.

THE TUNNEL WILL MEET THE BATTERY

TUNNEL IN RED HOOK.

YOU CAN GO INTO THE BATTERY

TUNNEL OR YOU CAN VEER RIGHT AND

GO INTO THE BROOKLYN EXPRESS

WAY.

GO TO THE BROOKLYN BRIDGE,

MANHATTAN BRIDGE AND OUT TO

QUEENS AND LONG ISLAND.

IT IS AN AMAZING PIECE OF

INFRASTRUCTURE THAT WOULD

TRANSFORM IT.

>> LET ME ASK YOU, HOW WOULD IT

TRANSFORM?

IT HAS BEEN REVITALIZED OVER THE

LAST 20, 30, 40 YEARS.

THE TUNNEL WOULD BE SEEN

EXPONENTIALLY.

ESPECIALLY SUNSET PARK AND ALL

THE AREAS THAT WERE FLYOVER

AREAS.

THEY'RE NOW BUSTLING AND VIBRANT

COMMUNITY THAT'S DON'T DESERVE

TO HAVE A HIGHWAY CUTTING

THROUGH THEIR NEIGHBORHOOD.

ROBERT MOSES BUILT AN EXPRESSWAY

THAT YOU CAN'T GET ON FROM

SUNSET PARK.

IT'S INSANE.

BUT SPEAKING OF SUNSET PARK, THE

ARTICLE THAT YOU BOTH, THAT YOU

CO-WROTE, YOU SAY INDUSTRY CITY

ALONE IN SUNSET PARK, YOU

PROJECTED IT COULD GENERATE $1

BILLION IN INVESTMENT AND CREATE

A TOTAL OF ALMOST 20,000 JOBS IF

THIS PROJECT WENT THROUGH.

>> IF YOU LOOK AT WHEN THEY

REDID THE HIGH LINE, WHEN THEY

PUT IN A SEVEN TRAIN EXTENSION,

WHEN THE STATE GOVERNMENT, WITH

ITS FEDERAL, CITY, OR STATE

GOVERNMENT INVESTS IN

INFRASTRUCTURE, AND YOU DO THE

FINANCING RIGHT, YOU CAN PICK UP

SO MUCH FINANCING, MONEY,

ECONOMIC ACTIVITY, JUST FROM

AROUND.

>> THESE ARE PRETTY SPECIFIC

NUMBERS.

>> YOU LOOK AT THE NUMBERS THAT

INDUSTRY CITY HAS PUT OUT.

YOU LOOK WHAT'S HAPPENING AT

LIBERTY VIEW.

THE PLAN FOR THE BROOKLYN ARMY

TERMINAL.

THE FERRY SYSTEM, ALTOGETHER,

THE PROJECTIONS WERE PROBABLY

OFF.

>> YOU MEAN MORE.

>> THIS IS A GRAND SCALE.

IN OUR OPINION, THIS IS THE NEXT

GREAT NEW YORK GRAND SCALE

PROJECT.

>> YOU KNOW, COUNCILMAN, THERE

ARE THOSE WHO ARGUE WITH ALL THE

INFRASTRUCTURE, THE IMMEDIATE

INFRASTRUCTURE CRISIS THAT NEW

YORKERS FACE, THE CRUMBLING

SUBWAY SYSTEM, THAT WE DON'T

HAVE THE LUXURY TO DIVERT OUR

ATTENTION OR OUR DOLLARS TO LONG

TERM PROJECTS LIKE THE ONES

YOU'RE PROPOSING.

HOW DO YOU RESPOND?

>> A COUPLE WAYS.

IT IS TIME TO GET BACK TO THE

GREAT PUBLIC WORKS PROJECTS OF

FDR.

YOU PUT PEOPLE TO WORK.

YOU DREAMT BIG.

THE CITY WAS BUILT BY PEOPLE,

THEY DREAMT BIG.

I THINK WE SPENT THE LAST HALF

CENTURY PUTTING OUT FIRES.

WE FORGOT TO PLAN FOR THE

FUTURE.

NOW IT IS A CRISIS.

I THINK YOU HAVE TO HAVE FOLKS

WILLING TO THINK PAST THEIR TERM

IN OFFICE.

>> WE WERE TALKING ABOUT THIS IN

THE GREEN ROOM.

AND YOU KNOW, NO OFFENSE, YOUR

FELLOW POLITICIANS, IT IS NOT

THEIR HABIT TO SPEND A LOT OF

MONEY ON PROJECTS THAT WILL BE

COMPLETED AFTER THEY LEAVE

OFFICE.

>> PEOPLE THE WARM TO BE AROUND.

SFO YOU MAY NEVER ENJOY IT.

THAT'S PART OF BEING A LEADER.

I MIGHT NEVER ENJOY THE TUNNEL.

IT IS UP TO US TO GET THAT NICK

HE MOVING.

>> WE OWE IT, NOT JUST TO THE

PEOPLE HAD A DRIVE ON THE TUNNEL

OR THE PEOPLE CREATING JOBS

THERE.

FOR THE LAST 60 YEARS, THEY

ENDURED THIS.

THEIR GRANDCHILDREN DESERVE NOT

TO HAVE TO LOOK AT THIS EYESORE.

HAVE SOME OF THE WORST ASTHMA

RATES IN NEW YORK CITY,

POLLUTION, CONGESTION, THEY

DESERVE IT MORE THAN US DRIVERS.

>> YOU KNOW THERE'S BEEN

MULTIPLE OPPORTUNITIES.

THEY ALL FAILED.

WHAT MAKES THIS DIFFERENT?

>> THE ONE THING IS, AND IT IS

VERY SIMPLE, THAT THE EXPRESS

WAY DOES NOT HAVE A LONG LIFE

SPAN.

IN TEN YEARS, THAT THING IS

UNDRIVABLE.

THEY'RE REQUESTING TO HAVE TO

ISSUE REQUESTS TO FIGURE OUT

WHAT IS THE REPLACEMENT.

YOU HAVE TO REPLACE IT.

LET'S DO IT RIGHT.

>> IF THIS GOES THROUGH, HOW

LONG WILL IT TAKE TO BUILD?

I THINK THE TIME TO GET THE

APPROVAL, GET PEOPLE ON BOARD IS

LONGER THAN IT WILL TAKE ON

BUILD IT.

LET'S PUT IT THAT WAY.

>> WHAT KIND OF

DISRUPTION/NIGHTMARES WILL THE

NEIGHBORHOODS AND THE

COMMUNITIES HAVE TO ENDURE?

>> I THINK THE GOOD THINGS BY

BUILDING A TUNNEL, YOU CAN LEAVE

IT UP WHILE THE TUNNEL IS BEING

BUILT.

IF YOU'RE REPLACING, YOU HAVE TO

DO IT WHILE IT'S HAPPENING.

SO LEAVE IT UP.

BUILD THE TUNNEL.

FIGURE OUT HOW YOU'RE GOING TO

REALLY REBUILD COMMUNITIES.

WHILE YOU HAVE A ROAD RUNNING SO

THAT YOU'RE NOT DISRUPTING

PEOPLE.

AND THEN YOU'RE DONE.

>> WITH US WORKING ON IT, I

WOULD PUT A SIZABLE WAGER ON IT.

>> THAT I THINK NOW WE'VE GOTTEN

TO A PLACE THAT IS SO DIRE THAT

WE'RE BASICALLY HAVING

CELEBRATIONS WHEN WE GET A

HANDICAPPED ELEVATOR IN THE

SUBWAY.

AND THE CITY IS REACHING 9

MILLION PEOPLE.

THE SOMETIME TO MAKE THESE

DECISIONS AND TO GET THE BALL

ROLLING.

IT HAS TO START NOW.

CHINA IS DOING IT, GERMANY IS

DOING IT.

THERE ARE PRONGS OF THIS

MAGNITUDE ALL OVER THE WORLD.

>> I WAS RECENTLY IF CHINA.

THEY VISITED A SUBWAY IN THE

CITY THAT I VISIT IN THE EIGHT

YEARS.

THANK YOU FOR COMING.


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