Berkeley Carroll Streets Torn Up by City Construction Project


A walk to Berkeley Carroll, formerly pleasant and leafy, surrounded by trees and brownstones, has become loud, hazardous and hazy.

Berkeley Carroll students are confronted by dust and a torn-up streetscape on the corner of Lincoln and 8th Avenue, which many pass on their way to school from the subway. Students are also affected by a similarly dusty and treacherous intersection at St. John’s and 7th, which students pass through on the way to and from the Sterling Performance Space. Henry ‘23, who has half of his classes at Sterling, says St. John’s is full of puddles when it rains. “If I don’t have boots, that’s a problem.

In addition to the adverse effect on pedestrians, the intermittent closures of 8th Avenue occasionally redirect enormous volumes of traffic onto Lincoln Pl., slowing down students in buses and cars on their way to school. The traffic brings additional emissions and noise, with many students reporting increased honking audible inside the building. The work also prevents Berkeley Carroll from closing the street to allow students to enjoy the outside during breaks. 

The cause of all this commotion? BED798. Six years ago, New York City’s Department of Design and Construction began BED798, a two year project to replace water mains on 8th Ave, St. John’s, and 6th Ave. The project was originally budgeted at $25.8 million. Then, in 2017, the project was delayed until the summer of 2021. Today, work continues into the spring, and $102 million dollars has been spent so far. The project is 400% over budget. 

BED798 was allegedly derailed by “unforeseen site/field conditions”—the DDC has declined to provide a more detailed explanation, instead reiterating the necessity of the work: The brick water mains were over 100 years old, and had been leaking for years. The mains under 8th Avenue and St. John’s also carry nearly all the drinking water for Southern Brooklyn, meaning unforeseen disruptions or issues with the brick water mains might have affected tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of people. In an attempt to placate community members, the DDC held a town hall in November of 2019 to address the concerns of the St. John’s Pl. Community Association (SJPCA). Brownstoner reported that the representatives were slow to address concerns, instead directing questions to 311 and the Comptroller. Park Slope residents questioned the purpose of these changes, with one heckler shouting “Why is this even happening?” 

While to some, residents’ complaints read like caricatures of New York’s often neurotic and unreasonable block associations, to others, the SJPCA raises an important point. The city has grossly mismanaged this project. There are real consequences to prolonged dust and noise.  Beyond just squandering $75 million dollars, the DDC’s handling of the project has raised questions about whether it will be able to perform more important, larger capital projects on time, on budget, or at all. With the passage of the federal infrastructure bill, New Yorkers can expect increased infrastructure spending and construction by the DDC. Many of the new projects will be extremely complicated—like reinforcing the BQE. Many will be extremely expensive. If BED798—a routine water main replacement—is any precedent, that may hurt, rather than help, the lives of everyday people. 

On Lincoln, work continues. Holes are repaved, cut again, then covered with temporary metal plates. Eventually, work will finish, but it will be worth asking, was it worth six years and $100 million dollars? Perhaps, we were better off with the old brick water mains.  


 Since 2015, when I first started walking to Lincoln Pl. as a 5th grader, the city has worked to replace water mains along 8th Ave, Flatbush, and St. Johns. Now, in 2022 and 11th grade, the construction has not stopped, and isn’t projected to be completed until after I graduate. 

I first walked to Lincoln Pl. in the fall of 2015. It was the first time I went anywhere alone, the end of being dropped off and picked up on Carroll. I was a 5th grader at Berkeley Carroll, just starting middle school, tests, switching rooms for classes and getting letter grades. When I started walking to Lincoln Pl., New York City started replacing a water main on 8th Avenue. I no longer have classes in the 5th grade hallway. I don’t take the critical thinking elective with Mr. Wilper. But, New York City is still replacing the water main on 8th Avenue.


“Park Slope Construction Nightmare Floods, Cracks Homes: Residents”

“Frustrated Park Slope Residents Say City Sewer Repairs Are ‘Breaking Our Homes to Pieces’”

“City Reps Face Angry Residents at Park Slope Town Hall Over Botched Construction”