BQX Back in Action
The Brooklyn-Queens Connector streetcar proposal – known as the BQX – is back in action with a new website and upcoming community stakeholder meetings. The proposed waterfront streetcar would run 11 miles from Red Hook Brooklyn to Astoria Queens, connecting 13 subway lines, more than 30 bus routes, nine Ferry landings, and over 100 Citi Bike stations at a projected cost of $2 billion. The Mayor and Economic Development Corporation argue it is the perfect transit solution for public transit deserts like Red Hook that have been underserved for decades.
The BQX will be emissions-free and run on tracks flush with the existing roadway in a dedicated lane without overhead wires or underground power sources making it resilient against major storms and flooding. Unlike the original proposal, the current route does not go all the way to Sunset Park and avoids Dumbo. The current timeframe has the #streetcars running by 2029 with a projected ridership of 50,000 a day.
But the project has been losing momentum for years, especially with the recent loss of the Amazon HQ2 in Long Island City that city officials said would justify the expenditure. An environmental impact statement was awarded last year, signaling the project is still being considered by the city.
The value capture approach of the BQX seeks to reimburse the taxpayer funding by generating tax revenue from increased property values along the line. Opponents of the proposal say it primarily benefits private real estate interests and is a vanity project by the Mayor's administration who could just as easily dedicate select bus service along the corridor at a fraction of the price.