A rendering of the BQX streetcar running on Berry Street in Williamsburg. Image via Parsons Brinckerhoff
Earlier this year, Mayor Bill de Blasio proposed a new streetcar line that would connect Queens to Brooklyn via a 16-mile route running from Astoria (Queens) to Sunset Park (Brooklyn). The project, known as the Brooklyn Queens Connector (BQX), would cut through some of NYC’s most crowded neighborhoods. On Tuesday, city officials announced the possible routes for the line, which is projected to open by 2024.
According to The New York Times, city officials will discuss the routes over the coming months before selecting a path early next year. In the meantime, a 25-page report, released by the Department of Transportation and the NYCEDC, outlines the advantages and disadvantages of utilizing specific streets through major neighborhoods, including Williamsburg, Red Hook and Long Island City; it also reveals technical details about the streetcars (emissions-free, Wi-Fi hotspots, bicycle racks), as well as the anticipated economic impact of the project over the next 30 years.
Image via NYCEDC
Several factors are being taken into account regarding the feasibility of the proposed routes, including the distance away from subway stations and the density of traffic. Based on the research, city officials now believe moving the line further inland, away from the waterfront, would make more sense. Councilman Costa Constantinides, however, wants to make sure that the line can serve people who live near the waterfront in “transit deserts.”
Image via NYCEDC
Adam Giambrone, formerly a chairman of the Toronto Transit Commission, will serve as the project’s director, which is anticipated to cost $2.5 billion. To help the line run more efficiently, he hopes to include a dedicated lane in traffic as much as possible. If all goes according to plan, the city could begin an environmental review as early as next year before starting construction in 2019.