Image from Friends of the Brooklyn Queens Connector
The Mayor made it clear that streetcar plan specifically targets neighborhoods undergoing significant development, either ongoing or forthcoming such as the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Sunset Park and Long Island City. With more residents and businesses coming to the Brooklyn waterfront through planned development and real estate speculation, improved intra/inter borough transportation is clearly necessary, and the city expects that a rail line will spur further investment in these neighborhoods. Richard Ravitch, former Lieutenant Governor of New York and Chairman of the MTA commented, “The more mass transit we have, the better off we are as a city that is growing.”
In addition, the streetcar line would also relieve pressure on subway lines in Manhattan, taking out commuters who are currently forced to travel into Manhattan just to get elsewhere in Queens or Brooklyn. As Alicia Glen, current Deputy Mayor for Housing and Development explained, “The old transportation system was a hub-and-spoke approach, where people went into Manhattan for work and came back out…This is about mapping transit to the future of New York.” With the L train potentially facing a long-term closure on part of its line, the BQX could also serve as an auxiliary or relief line.
The BQX has received significant support from the private sector as well. Fred Wilson, venture capitalist and co-founder of Union Square Ventures shared the Mayor’s optimism saying, “This is a big deal for NYC and a big deal for the NYC tech sector…Fixing the transportation problems into these developing neighborhoods will bring people and jobs and new vitality to these waterfront neighborhoods.” Another endorsement came from Jed Walentas, developer and founder of Two Trees, the firm behind the revitalization of DUMBO and the Domino Sugar Factory project in Williamsburg. He praised the Mayor’s new plan and even offered to pay for a study to determine the exact cost of the project.