January/February 1998, p.8

Gowanus Lawsuit Launched by T.A. and Community

Read the latest news about this issue.

In late November, Transportation Alternatives and a coalition of West Brooklyn community groups filed suit in Federal Court demanding that the Federal Highway Administration and the State DOT obey Federal law by performing a Major Investment Study (MIS) before the planned one billion reconstruction of the elevated the Gowanus Expressway. T.A. and friends are represented in the case pro bono by New York Lawyers for the Public Interest and Arnold and Porter. The suit will take at least 9 months to resolve and could take over a year.

The goal of the suit is to win a Major Investment Study which has three key provisions:

  • Public Participation in setting the transportation, economic and social goals of the project and selecting and comparing alternatives for carrying people and goods and managing traffic.
  • A collaborative goal setting process in which business, community and other public interests work together to determine what Brooklyn, the region, and the State ultimately want from their billion dollar plus investment in the Gowanus.
  • A public scoping process in which the full social, economic and environmental costs and benefits of each alternative are weighed over the course of that alternative's entire life cycle. For instance a Gowanus tunnel might cost much more at the onset, but last longer and require far lower maintenance costs. Additionally, the social and economic benefits of a tunnel to the surrounding community, as well as reduced harms, could prove enormous over time.

In addition to strong community support, a Major Investment Study is supported by U.S. Representatives Nydia Velazquez and Jerrold Nadler.