The Wheels Are In Motion For The Brooklyn-Queens Streetcar
By Ilija Sekulovski
The wheels are in motion for the Brooklyn-Queens Connector system that would connect neighborhoods along the waterfront in Brooklyn and Queens by way of a streetcar. Well at least the talks have started in a series of visioning sessions, the first open discussion was this past Monday, May 9th at the Variety Boys & Girls Club. The experience was very interactive as the audience was broken up into several groups and was then asked to draw a projected route for the streetcar to run in Queens. The most common suggestions were Vernon Boulevard and 21st Street, as well as connections to local bus lines and LaGuardia Airport.
The first of several meetings started off on a positive note because it shows that the city council members are genuinely concerned about the people and neighborhoods that will be impacted by the Brooklyn-Queens Connector. The city will take the information gathered from this session as well as the sessions to come into consideration and will release an initial proposal this Fall, EDC officials said.
Other concerns that were raised were the projected cost of $2.5 billion it would cost to complete the project and well as the oh so infamous dilemma of parking and traffic congestion here in Astoria. Officials estimate it will cost about $30 million a year to run, but the final outcome would result in more than $25 billion in economic activity over the next three decades. Overall, the idea was embraced and Astoria’s City Councilman Costa Constantinides, reassured Astorians that, “this will be a process and he’s excited about the streetcar project, but wants to ensure whatever plan goes into effect allows the neighborhood to "keep our soul." "If we build this and we lose who we are as a neighborhood, then we fail," he said.