9. The Belt Parkway was almost converted into an interstate highway
In March 1971, Governor Nelson Rockefeller announced plans for converting 15.6 miles of the Belt Parkway into an Interstate highway. The plans would reconfigure the section to comprise of 10 lanes, with six used by automobiles and two in each direction for trucks and buses. The $213 million proposal would potentially unclog truck congestion on Brooklyn streets. Yet the proposal to expand the Belt Parkway was met with criticism — many considered the plan a potential “major air pollution source” and believed it would benefit truckers traveling between New Jersey and the south shore of Long Island, not Brooklyn.
Governor Rockefeller soon withdrew his support for the Belt “truckway” on May 20, 1971. However, the Regional Plan Association is reconsidering this proposal as part of the “Southern Gateway” mobility plan. The RPA reconsidered the proposal, which would allow trucks to travel between the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and JFK Airport.