$1.7B Light Rail Connecting the Brooklyn-Queens Waterfront Proposed
The dream of a Brooklyn-Queens light rail is moving further into the realm of reality. Back in July last year, 6sqft reported that an advisory committee comprised of developers, transportation experts and civic organizers was in the midst of forming to address the need for a more robust transportation system that could connect underserved, but booming, areas of Brooklyn and Queens. Now as the Daily News tells us, a non-profit advocacy group called Friends of the Brooklyn Queens Connector has officially materialized to tackle the issue, and they’ve just released a detailed proposal revealing the route and the potential design the modern streetcars could take on.
The new streetcar system would link ten Brooklyn and Queens neighborhoods along a 17-mile route that follows the waterfront between Sunset Park and Astoria. A study commissioned by the advocacy group says that it will cost about $1.7 billion to implement the system with an additional $26 million in annual operational costs pinned to that figure. However, they also estimate that the new line could bring in $3.7 billion in tax revenue, which they say would be “more than enough value” to cover costs. And given the number of residential and office buildings going up along the waterfront, developing a viable transit system to give folks access to these booming local economies is imperative. The report estimates that 15.8 million passengers would use the service annually by 2035, and the city could break ground on the project as soon as 2019.
Members of the Friends of the Brooklyn Queens Connector include influential parties such as transit experts, community leaders and big money names in the development biz like Doug Steiner of Steiner Studios, investor Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures and Helena Durst of the Durst Organization real estate firm. The Daily News also adds that the de Blasio administration is willing to entertain the idea.
“We’re always open to new ideas that can help build the 21st century transportation system New Yorkers deserve,” said de Blasio spokesman Wiley Norvell.
Images courtesy of Friends of the Brooklyn Queens Connector via NYDN
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