De Blasio Administration Announces Brooklyn-Queens Connector Streetcar

Brooklyn-Queens Streetcar rendering. Image credit: Mayor’s Office.

New light rail will bring much-needed connectivity to other existing modes of transportation. On August 30, 2018, the de Blasio Administration announced plans to move forward with the Brooklyn Queens Connector (BQX) streetcar project. The emissions-free light rail system will help serve the continuously growing Brooklyn-Queens Waterfront communities that are underserved by existing transportation.

Following a feasibility study, the City found that the new line will help better service over half a million New Yorkers living and working along the Brooklyn Queens Waterfront, including 40,000 New York City Public Housing Authority residents. The line will serve as a connector to other sources of transportation and will allow for greater access to employment opportunities, schools, and healthcare facilities.

The revised route will connect Astoria, Long Island City, Greenpoint, Williamsburg, the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Downtown Brooklyn, and Red Hook.

While the estimated cost of the project is $2.73 billion, it is expected to generate $30 billion in economic impact and approximately $1.4 billion in value capture to finance its construction. To help finance the project, the City has announced that it will seek federal funding. The expected daily ridership is estimated to be at 50,000 in the first year of operation, with the intent that the expanded connection will generate economic activity, by serving as a connector to emerging job clusters, cultural centers, academic institutions, parks and more.

Brooklyn-Queens Streetcar route map. Image credit: Mayor’s Office.

The project must still undergo an environmental impact study, followed by the uniform land use review procedure (ULURP), wherein affected communities will have opportunities to provide input. Construction is expected to begin in 2024 and be completed by 2029.

“The Brooklyn-Queens waterfront has experienced incredible growth. Now it’s time for our transit system to catch up,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “The BQX is one of the biggest, most ambitious projects in a generation. It will be a challenge, but New York City is taking it on.”

“The BQX will link long-disconnected neighborhoods, shorten commutes to school and work, and provide a 21st century solution to our city’s transit challenges”, said NYCEDC President James Patchett.

New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said: “As the Brooklyn-Queens waterfront continues to grow, adding new residents and jobs each year, the City must pursue multiple transportation solutions. The BQX has the potential to be an integral part of our city’s expanding transportation system.  It will complement and connect to our subway and bus system, the NYC ferry, and bike share, while transforming city streets.”

Brooklyn-Queens Streetcar rendering. Image credit: Mayor’s Office.

The full report on the project is available here.


By: Viktoriya Gray (Viktoriya is a CityLaw Fellow and New York Law School Graduate, Class of 2018.)


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