BROOKLYN HEIGHTS, Brooklyn — Six-year-old Sasha Keehner was one of hundreds of Brooklyn Heights children who got a lesson in political activism by writing postcards to Mayer Bill de Blasio.
“I wrote that I want to save the promenade,” she told PIX11 News.
These children and their parents are protesting a city Department of Transportation proposal to replace the Brooklyn Heights promenade with the temporary six-lane highway while repairs are made to the aging, 70-year-old three-tier Brooklyn Queens Expressway underneath.
“What we’re trying to do is let the children have a voice, too,” Ann Dooley, the Save The Promenade Community Outreach coordinator, told PIX11. “The Promenade is right next to this playground and if the plan goes through, the air and noise pollution will directly affect them."
Under the city’s plan, the promenade would be shut down for at least six years while the six-lane highway is constructed over the promenade to handle the 153,000 cars and trucks who use the cantilevered BQE as it passes through Brooklyn Heights every day.
The cost for repairs and temporary highway is at least $4 billion.
“What the DOT has suggested is strictly in the purview of the DOT and has zero contemplation of interagency coordination, zero contemplation of working with the state or federal government,” Jonathan Keehner, A Better Way NYC director told PIX11. “You’re tearing down a landmark and you’re seeing these people here are saying absolutely not. We need to hit the pause button and we need to rethink this."
At this crash course in civic engagement, children were also given chalk to write on the promenade why they love it so.
Nine-year-old Teddy Eisenstadt was so proud of his postcard to the mayor.
“My favorite thing to do on the promenade is to look at the view,” Eisenstadt wrote on his postcard. “If you take it away, that will make me feel very sad."