The proposed Brooklyn-Queens Connector (BQX) streetcar may require the construction of two new bridges, one over Newtown Creek and another over the Gowanus Canal. The New York Times reported that the potential need for the new bridges–the Pulaski Bridge and the bridge across the Gowanus Canal at Hamilton Avenue might not be able to accommodate streetcars–was one of the more substantial details released by Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen and other top officials Friday.
In a “fatal-flaw analysis,” it was found that that though there would be “major challenges” to creating the system, it was feasible, Ms. Glen said. Like all things New York City, the proposed BQX proposal “would dwarf other recent streetcar systems in the United States.” The cost involved in constructing the new bridges is already included in the project’s $2.5 billion cost estimate. They would include bicycle and pedestrian paths.
As 6sqft previously reported, the planned system would run 16 miles along the East River from Astoria to Sunset Park. Not only would the streetcars serve bustling commercial hubs like the Brooklyn Navy Yard and Long Island City, but they’d provide access for about 45,000 public-housing residents.
Since the Mayor announced plans for the project, community members and other interested parties have raised concerns about the feasibility of the streetcar line and the effect it would have on surrounding neighborhoods, including whether or not it will accept MetroCard transfers, the issue that the system may favor “tourists and yuppies,” and that it runs entirely through flood zones. Additional concerns that arose in the briefing involved the removal of hundreds of street parking spaces.
Officials hope for a 2024 opening, but critics of the plan have pointed out that building two new bridges would make that timeline more challenging. The city addressed concerns about fares by saying it would work with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority on the possibility of allowing for transfers.
The city’s streetcar plan is similar to the 184-page study commissioned by nonprofit group Friends of the Brooklyn Queens Connector examining the possibilities and the impact the streetcar might have as well as its projected costs. In response to concerns, former city traffic commissioner Samuel I. Schwartz, who worked on the study, says he’d imagined that New Yorkers would be tough critics, especially when it comes to parking spaces, as “a lot of people believe that was guaranteed in the Constitution.”
- The Brooklyn-Queens Streetcar Would Run Entirely Through Flood Zones
- Waterfront Neighborhoods Fear Proposed BQX Streetcar Would Favor ‘Tourists and Yuppies’
- Does the City’s Brooklyn-Queens Streetcar Plan Actually Make Sense?
- De Blasio to Announce $2.5B Brooklyn-Queens Streetcar Line