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The plan to build a streetcar between Brooklyn and Queens got a much-needed push forward on Wednesday. The city’s Economic Development Corporation awarded consulting firm VHB $7.25 million to complete an Environmental Impact Study (EIS) for the proposed Brooklyn Queens Connector (BQX). First announced by Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2016, the streetcar plan has faced many roadblocks, delays, and doubts from public officials. But last year, the mayor announced a revised proposal, which includes a higher price tag, fewer miles on the route, and a delayed start date.
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Photo courtesy of Friends of the BQX
With the unveiling of its inaugural prototype last fall, things were looking up for the Brooklyn Queens Connector (BQX) streetcar, a proposed light-rail trolley that would run 16-miles along the East River between the two boroughs. The Friends of the BQX even held an event to show off the ultra-sleek, 46-foot long prototype car. However, studies into the project’s construction feasibility, as well as its ability to pay for itself, are still underway, according to the Daily News. At an event at NYU, Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen said the administration is still determining the project’s ability to be self-funding.
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Photo courtesy of Friends of the BQX
A group of public officials and advocates joined the Friends of the Brooklyn Queens Connector (BQX) today to unveil the inaugural prototype of the streetcar proposed to run between Astoria and Sunset Park. First backed by Mayor Bill de Blasio in February 2016, the BQX project, expected to cost $2.5 billion, would connect Brooklyn and Queens along the East River. Despite significant setbacks, including a bleak assessment about the finances and logistics of the project from Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen in April, BQX supporters are urging the de Blasio administration to make the project a priority during his second term.
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When a leaked memo about the Brooklyn Queens Connector (BQX) surfaced a couple months ago, it painted a less-than-optimistic picture of the proposed $2.5 billion streetcar due to major construction challenges and doubts that Mayor de Blasio’s plan to self-fund the project through taxes from higher real estate values would pan out. Despite these concerns, however, the Transport Workers Union Local 100 endorsed the 16-mile streetcar project today, according to a press release from Friends of the Brooklyn Queens Connector.
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After working for decades advocating for transit equity and environmental justice at various organizations, Ya-Ting Liu came on board as the Executive Director of Friends of the Brooklyn Queens Connector. It’s been almost a year since the non-profit advocacy group first released a proposal for a streetcar to run along the borough’s waterfront, and since that time the city has stepped in to back the estimated $2.5 billion project, even appointing a director and creating preliminary maps of the streetcar’s possible routes. As one of several transportation undertakings on the table, the BQX certainly has a big year ahead. 6sqft recently sat down with Ya-Ting To get the scoop on what’s to come, as well as some insider thoughts on the streetcar’s common misconceptions.
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Earlier in the month, 6sqft shared news of a detailed proposal from non-profit advocacy group Friends of the Brooklyn Queens Connector that called for a Brooklyn-Queens streetcar line to connect “underserved, but booming” areas of the boroughs. The city must’ve been listening, because Mayor de Blasio is expected to announce today in his State of the City speech that he’ll be backing such a proposal. Like the original scheme, the city’s plan will run 16 miles along the East River, from Astoria to Sunset Park, but at a projected cost of $2.5 billion, it will be significantly more expensive than the previous estimate of $1.7 billion, but significantly less than a new underground subway. 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.
Commuting in and around NYC can at times be a daunting task, and with the all of the pending subway closures, things are about to get a bit more complicated. However, all hope is not lost, and a trouble-free ride to work right be in the near future. From a city-wide ferry system to cell-phone friendly subway cars, both Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio have several new initiatives in play to improve the city’s infrastructure. In addition to these ambitious government-backed measures, there are also a slew of motivated residents looking to make some changes, including a 32-Mile Greenway in Brooklyn and Queens and a High Line-esque bridge spanning the Hudson River, just to name a few. To keep your spirits high when subway lines are down, we’ve put together this list of top 10 transportation proposals for NYC.
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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.
Find out more about the proposal here