Proposed Brooklyn-Queens Connector At Risk Of Being Scrapped
By Josephine Lembard
Key studies for the Brooklyn-Queens Connector, called BQX, are currently underway and will determine the feasibility of continuation of the project that will serve as a 16-mile streetcar route between Brooklyn and Queen’s waterways.
The proposed trolley that would travel between Sunset Park, Brooklyn and Astoria, Queens might be in trouble if the cost of construction cannot be supported through the eventual revenues of the BQX brought by the increased property values.
According to Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen during her talks at NYU Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management, if the proposed costs cannot be covered, the de Blasio administration might decide that the BQX is not a viable use of city funds.
However, she also notes that Sen. Charles Schumer is a “huge fan” of the project, and the benefits a project of this size would have for the transportation network.
A possibility suggested by Glen to cover the gap in construction costs was through federal funding.
“The federal government could come up with additional money to do exactly these kinds of cool urban projects that really enhance our mass transit network — that’s the kind of thing the federal government should be doing,” said Glen.
What do you think of the potential pros and cons of the BQX?
The question of the ability to continue has been the subject of discussion for the past year.
While an internal memo highlighted potential issues with self-funding and the evacuation of underground utility equipment, many supporters of the streetcar are pro-trolley but are afraid that the increased taxes might make the area unaffordable for the families that have long existed in the area.
The Friends of BQX, a nonprofit formed from real estate companies as well as community groups, suggest that community would greatly benefit from the development and job opportunities the BQX would bring.
“Now is the time for the city to capitalize on a real moment to take our transit destiny into our hands and move the BQX forward by unveiling next steps for the project,” said Jessica Schumer, daughter of Sen. Schumer and executive director of the Friends of the BQX.
As of now, the current fate of the BQX remains to be seen.
*Featured Image Via Brooklyn Queens Connector/QNS